L’Oréal campaigns to encourage women into science

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Because You’re Worth it – And Your Career is Too: 

Beauty and brains are often regarded to be quite distinct attributes, and usually detrimental to one another. However, the French Cosmetics Company, ‘L’Oréal’, which has subsidiaries such as ‘Lancôme’, ‘Urban Decay’ and ‘The Body Shop’, all of which are rightfully hailed within the beauty community – has launched a new manifesto to encourage female career aspirations, particularly with a drive into science.

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‘For Women in Science’ was actually founded by L’Oreal in 1998, so is nothing new to the cosmetics company and has in fact been supporting women for almost two decades now. The programme is run by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) in conjunction with L’Oréal and was established purely to recognise and inspire female researchers. Interestingly, the UNESCO institute for statistics reported in 2014 that just 30% of the world’s researchers are female, so the campaign is doing what it can to increase this figure.

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Campaign leaders believe the way to encourage women into scientific careers, which are absolutely pivotal to the beauty industry and form the very basis, is to instil confidence in girls from a young age. Girls should be made aware of their own potential and be inspired by role models. In turn, this cycle should replicate to produce academically strong and aware women who do not feel marginalised or compelled to enter typified career paths. Quite clearly, the beauty industry facilitates the careers of models, beauticians, artists, marketers, advertisers and creatives. Obviously the industry relies upon researchers and field leaders; however, these roles are often less glamorised and receive less attention publically. Clearly, there must be a great deal more acknowledgement within scientific circles, but this campaign publically highlights the importance of science and female involvement at every level of the beauty industry. L’Oreal can only be commended for encouraging female scientists in such a way, as well as crediting the fundamental elements of the industry and all those who work so hard to produce the products we all adorn.

L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards 2016

The Women in Science campaign actually hosts three programmes: Laureates; Rising Talents and Fellowships, so female scientists of a varying level can receive support. These programmes provide funding for study and awards to launch women into a great career. Without this funding, some women would be unable to penetrate their chosen field, likewise, the campaign provides a network of scientific leaders, which is sure to be invaluable for any new career venture.

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As mentioned, the programme is in fact quite old. However, earlier in 2016, a new manifesto was implemented. This was purely because leaders felt that the current career climate still did not support women correctly, as proved by the figures presented by UNESCO. Despite their efforts, Women in Science campaigners felt that women were still significantly under-represented. Sadly, their hopes and efforts had not aligned with reality. As a result, the Rising Talents programme, which now makes up a third of the programmes, was founded. In addition, the manifesto was created.

Much like the initial campaign, the manifesto supports women within the scientific community and also encourages the general public to increase the pace of change for women in science. The manifesto has six major policies including prioritising female access to senior positions and abolishing any barriers that prevent women pursuing careers in research.

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Whilst the manifesto generally outlines the campaign, it highlights aspects extremely clearly – in six snippets. This makes it an extremely accessible campaign and evidences L’Oreal’s recognition that despite the progress that we may have reached there is still a way to go.

Furthermore, the manifesto also features a petition, which currently boasts short of 84K signatures and supporters are invited to sign up. Clearly, this portrays the understanding that female career aspirations and progression cannot be improved individually or even in fact by an extremely powerful market leader like L’Oreal. But by raising awareness the campaign has made it clear that women are not only valued, but are necessary within science – the very foundation of the beauty industry.

 

Words: Steph Ryan

Tags: #L’Oréal #ForWomenInScience #BecauseYou’reWorthIt

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