This November, L’Oréal Philippines and UNESCO once again opens nominations for its For Women in Science program to PhD holders among the Filipino women researcher and scientist communities. Nominations will be accepted this month up until the end of March 2019. A grant of P400,000 will be given to the National Fellow to be awarded on June 2019.
Established in 1998, FWIS aims to support and recognize women researchers who have dedicated their work in finding solutions to the some of the world’s most pressing challenges, as well as encourage young women to take the first step in changing the world through their exceptional ability in the field of science and technology.
“We want to ensure that research in every field takes full advantage of the intelligence, creativity, and passion of women,” said Carmel Valencia, L’Oréal Philippines’ corporate communications manager. “Our fundamental belief is that the world needs science and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world.”
Over the last 20 years, the program:

  • granted fellowships to 3,022 talented young women to pursue research projects
  • honored 102 laureates, including three eventual Nobel Prize winners
  • established 53 national and regional fellowships in 117 countries
  • partnered with over 50 scientific institutions and 400 scientists worldwide

L’Oréal Philippines celebrated the return of the program in the country last June 5 through the awarding of the newest FWIS National Fellow for the Philippines: chemical oceanographer Dr. Charissa Ferrera. Her work focuses on educating and advocating for water quality improvement and more sustainable practices in the waters of Anda and Bolinao. Five months after winning the program, Ferrera continues to work alongside science communicators, social scientists, and local government units to improve the fisherfolks’ environment and their livelihood.
“The program provided me with a truly great opportunity to take my research, apply it in communities where it will be most useful in, and create social impact – something that I have always strived to do as a scientist,” Ferrera said. “It was also a chance to raise awareness and inspire more individuals to pursue careers in science.”
L’Oréal Philippines and UNESCO both believe that continuing the conversation and shedding light on roadblocks for women in this field are essential to truly move the needle towards closing the gender gap in the sciences.
“In 2018, we embarked on this journey with L’Oréal Philippines to provide Filipino women researchers and scientists a platform to overcome the challenges they face in the field,” said Prof. Shahbaz Khan, director and representative of UNESCO Jakarta. “In 2019, we want to continue the journey and include more stakeholders in the conversation to be able to inspire development and purposive action towards enabling women to be leaders in science.”