L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowship, Astronaut Naoko Yamazaki Wins Special Award


On August 23th I left Okinawa AYEPO 2010 closing ceremony for Tokyo where I headed directly to the L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowship Award Ceremony.

As I always say, shining women are the hope of Japan.

Again this year 4 bright and young women scientists were awarded this honor.? Also this year, a special award was given to astronaut Naoko Yamazaki? (Ref.1). The ceremony was even more highlighted by her presence.? The stage was very beautifully set up and the program moved smoothly, which is very much the ‘L’Oreal style’, as I always say.? I was asked to make a toast, which I of course happily accepted.?

Every year beginning 1998, in collaboration of UNESCO, 5 wonderful women scientists are awarded one each from the 5 continents of the world?(Ref.1). This fellowship award, by the way, started in Japan five years ago to encourage the young women scientists.

I spent wonderful time with wonderful people just as I did two year ago at the award ceremony of 2008.

Quite a number of people gathered include Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, former Director General of UNESCO, former (Ms Bando) and current (Ms. Okajima) Directors of the Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office (3 successive directors since this post was founded are all women).

The future of Japan lies in how quickly we can create and expand the places for women to participate actively?(Ref.1,2).?

I would say that the major barrier is the ‘men-centered chauvinistic’ mindset and social structure, the society? where ‘herbivorous (soshokukei) men’ are dominating and taking charge.? I also suspect they (men) are scared of revealing how they actually are.? However, it is clear that in this transition from ‘vertically’ to ‘horizontally’ expanding global age, the time of ‘social titles’ with little real content or value to the world has ended long time ago.