William Kaelin, Peter Ratcliffe, Gregg Semenza, James Peebles, Michel Mayor, Didier Queloz, John B. Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. They are the men who have all been awarded some of the scientific Nobel Prize this year. So there is no woman among the award winners this year.
Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' class for chemistry and is a professor of chemical biology at Chalmers in Gothenburg. At Chalmers, among other things, she runs a project to increase equality at the university.
- The norm is that men dominate science. Historically, it is men who research, are professors and write scientific articles, says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede."Old guys" as role models
Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede says that the Nobel Prize has a responsibility.
- We give out awards that give signals and not everyone understands that these are old discoveries that are being praised. Nobel prizes have a tremendous role model value and now we do not give children and young people any model when we see these old guys, she says.
At the same time, she emphasizes that those who are praised are really worthy of the award.Changing the culture
The big change needs to happen at the universities, academia and the research world, says Wittung-Stafshede. Men and women must be given the same opportunities, which can later lead to the Nobel Prize. That's not the case today, according to her.
- It's about changing the culture and the system. In practice, leaders at all universities must take responsibility. Awareness is a first step, that you talk more about it and understand where the issues and problems lie, she says.