AsianScientist (Feb. 16, 2021) – Two scientists from Asia, namely Dr. Khongorzul Dorjgotov and Dr. Imalka Munaweera, are among the five winners of the 2021 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. The awards were announced during the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting, held on February 9, 2021.
According to a recent UNESCO report, women scientists still face gender bias well into the 21st century. Compared to their male counterparts, women are not only given smaller research grants, but are also less likely to publish in high-impact journals or be promoted.
Succeeding in the competitive world of science can be a challenge, but women scientists in countries with scarce resources and patriarchal norms tend to face additional obstacles as they build their careers. Taking these factors into account, the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards was launched in 2012 to elevate the achievements of early-career women scientists in developing countries.
Two of this year’s five awardees hail from Mongolia and Sri Lanka—with the rest coming from Ghana, Guatemala and Palestine. Dorjgotov, a senior lecturer at the National University of Mongolia, was recognized for her contributions to financial mathematics and mathematical modeling.
“There are equal opportunities to study at university and to work in the public or private sectors, but to get promoted and get involved in decision-making processes, then it becomes very difficult. I found it very hard to have my voice heard. Most people ignore women’s ideas and voices,” shared Dorjgotov. “Now, I hope attitudes will change and my opinions will matter.”
Meanwhile, Munaweera was awarded for her work in synthetic chemistry and materials. Specifically, her research focuses on fabricating different functionalized materials, nanoparticles and nanocomposites for industrial applications.
“Winning this award is one of the biggest achievements in my life”, said Munaweera. “I am so excited and motivated to conduct a lot of impactful research which brings solutions to the burning issues in the world.”
Given in partnership by the Organization For Women In Science For The Developing World (OWSD) and Elsevier Foundation, the winners will receive a cash prize of US$5,000, including typically an all-expenses paid trip to the AAAS annual meeting. Due to current circumstances, this year’s meeting was be held virtually.
“Every year, when we select the awardees, we are simply blown away by what they have already achieved and their personal dedication to continuing to advance science in their home countries,” said OWSD President Jennifer Thomson. “We are happy to be able to contribute, even a small part, to the recognition they truly deserve.”
Source: Elsevier; Illustration: Oi Keat Lam/AsianScientist.
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