L’Oreal’s for Women in Science Proves that They’re More Than Just a Beauty Brand

Okay everybody, drop everything you’re doing and read on: this is going to be really cool. Well okay, I’m a massive geek who thinks Jurassic Park is a documentary and cries when watching National Geographic shows about space, so it’s only natural that I find this cool, but I hope you will too!

Over the past fifteen years, UNESCO and L’Oreal have worked together on For Women in Science, a program which has been distributing awards to female scientists in the form of scholarships so that they may continue conducting research in their respective fields. The program hopes to encourage more female participation in the sciences all over the world, with fifteen winners selected from every continent to receive grants worth USD 40,000. For the second year in a row, a female Indonesian scientist has done us proud and counted among the rank of winners: one of this year’s fifteen fellowship winners is Sri Fatmawati, S.Si, M.Sc, Ph.D of Surabaya’s Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember.

Dr. Fatma, as is she is affectionately known, received her Ph.D from Japan’s Kyushu University and has decided to continue her research at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) where she will study the medicinal applications of mushrooms and natural herbs, roots, and leaves found in traditional Javanese jamu after experiencing their healing power as a child. She hopes that her research will open new avenues in the ongoing work behind finding cures for malaria, infections, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Fatma (centre) with a L’Oreal Indonesia representative, and UNESCO’s Indonesia national selection committee, including Prof. Dr. Arief Rachman.

Prof. Dr. Arief Rachman of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture posited that researchers are partners of the government in nation-building and the struggle for sustainable development, and that the public must be educated on the facets and importance of scientific research for it to become the high-priority line of work it is. He had this to say about Dr. Fatma’s achievement: “Indonesia has pearls like Fatma, and it would be wrong of the government not to harness talent such as hers.”

For a glimpse into the remarkable Dr. Fatma’s work and everyday life, check out the video below! Try not to cry from chest-bursting pride (I did).