Monday, October 12, 2009

Record Year for Female Nobel Prize Winners

2009 has been a record year for women winning Nobel prizes! Over the past few days as Nobel laureates have been announced, it has become clear that women are finally gaining recognition for their achievements of the highest caliber.

This year there are five female recipients of the Nobel Prize, setting a record for women winners throughout the Prize’s 114 year history. On top of that, this year is the first time that a woman has won the prize in economics, the last prize to be established in honor of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel in 1968.

Elinor Ostrom, 76, an American political scientist from Indiana University was awarded the economics prize for her research documenting how common resources--such as forests, fisheries, oil fields, and grazing lands--are better managed by local peoples than by private corporations or the government. Ostrom, who won the prize alongside University of California, Berkeley economist Oliver Williamson, is being lauded for her timely analysis of economic governance, and the ways in which government and private regulatory boards can be improved in an era of global financial crisis.

The four other women to win Nobel prizes this year include: American Carol W. Greider, 48, and Elizabeth H. Blackburn, 60, of dual U.S.-Australian citizenship, in medicine, Ada Yonath, 70, of Israel, in chemistry, and Herta Mueller, 56, a Romanian-born German writer, in literature.

Since 1895, when the prizes were first established, only 40 women around the world, including chemist Marie Curie and writer Toni Morrison have had the honor of receiving this prestigious award.

Although this year’s winner, Elinor Ostrom, was constantly discouraged from pursuing a career in economics on account of her sex, her accomplishment serves as a concrete reminder that nothing can stop today’s young women and girls from venturing into historically male-dominated professions that are, even today, plagued by widespread gender discrimination.

So on behalf of every female out there who aspires to do great things in this world, I say, bring on the next generation of awesome women laureates!

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