AWIS Celebrates Nobel Prize Winners and Calls for Greater Diversity

Oct 20, 2020Press Release


Shelley O’Brien

AWIS Celebrates Nobel Prize Winners and Calls for Greater Diversity

WASHINGTON DC, October 20, 2020 – Research by AWIS shows that women are consistently underrepresented among recipients of scholarly and research awards. However, this year, three of the ten Nobel Laureates in STEM were women which is on par with the percentage of women in STEM occupations (28%).

Sandy Robert, CEO of the Association for Women in Science stated, “The 2020 Nobel Prizes reflect exciting progress in recognizing women in STEM. We want to extend hearty congratulations to Drs. Ghez, Charpentier, and Doudna.”

Dr. Andrea Ghez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Dr. Richard Genzel, for the discovery of a supermassive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. And for the first time ever, two women received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were honored for developing a method for genome editing that has incredible implications for treating and curing diseases.

Dating back to 1901, there have been 710 Nobel Prizes in STEM – with the vast majority being men. This year’s prizes bring the total number of women who are Nobel Laureates in STEM to 25. This disparity is the result of historical and current barriers to the retention and advancement of women in science and STEM-related fields.

The Nobel Prize and other awards are an important way to provide visibility and recognition that women are brilliant, capable scientists – and provide role models and encouragement for the next generation.

In 2018, more women were elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences which awards the prizes, and this year’s nominating committee was instructed to consider diversity for the awards. These changes may have resulted in more gender diversity. However, all of this year’s Nobel Laureates were white.

“While we are pleased to see more women being honored, there is still ample room for improvement in representation from marginalized populations.” says Robert. “At AWIS our mission is to achieve equity and full participation of all women in science and STEM. Sustainable and equitable change requires continued and conscious efforts on the part of everyone, including the Nobel Prize Committee. AWIS recommends that intentional steps be taken to ensure diversity of nominators and awardees for the future.”


AWIS is a non-profit organization that advocates for equitable workplaces for all women in science and STEM related fields. For almost 50 years, AWIS has provided educational programs, career resources, scholarships, networking and leadership opportunities for members. We are dedicated to achieving full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. AWIS has helped guide Congress, the United Nations, companies, institutions and other professional STEM organizations on decisions and best practices to achieve leadership diversity which drives business growth and innovation. The AWIS network of members, allies, supporters, partners and chapters connects more than 100,000 professionals in STEM. To learn more, visit and @AWISnational.

1629 K Street, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
Contact Us
(202) 827-9798

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 23-7221574


© 2023 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2023 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.