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The Nobel Prize was created with one main objective: to award those who have heavily contributed for the benefit of humankind. As one looks back on previous Nobel laureates, it is evident that there is a significant disparity on the amount of male and female winners. With a total of only 3% of the science prizes being awarded to women since the beginning of the Nobel Prize ceremonies, there may be an underlying gender imbalance and bias that the Nobel committee turns a blind eye towards (Gibney, 2018). While the issue of gender imbalance within the Nobel laureates has been widely criticised, more needs to be done in order to ensure that women are being judged equally and fairly (alongside men) for their hard work and commitment to what the Nobel Prize stands for. Hence, Nobel committees should take gender diversity into consideration along with other judging factors when nominating researchers because without any action taken, women may continue to face a severe lack of recognition for their discoveries in an industry largely dominated by men.
Female researchers have made wondrous achievements within the industry but have been cut short of getting nominated because of numerous reasons – many of which concern presumptions and stereotypical assumptions about female researchers. As men are usually the winners of Nobel prizes, nominating women for these awards may be looked upon as compromising work quality for the “unfairness” of gender equality (Frazee, 2019). As a result, this contributes to the unequal possibility of nominating men over women within the Nobel committee. Additionally, the lack of female role models in the scientific industry may have led to women harbouring less interest in such academic careers. With such a small pool of female researchers and an even smaller group of them being nominated for Nobel prizes, it is unsurprising that many would have the inclination that men (rather than women) would lead humanity in scientific discoveries. Taking gender diversity into consideration will thus give female researchers the boost that they need in order to be seen as an equal beside other male nominees and diminish the stereotype that prevents them from being treated the same way male researchers do.
The Nobel prize is often seen by many to be a prestigious award that rewards and recognises those who have made significant advances in their researches. As such, Nobel laureates serve as role models for many (both young and old) to follow in their footsteps. However, with most Nobel laureates being male in gender, many girls and women may not only feel underrepresented but also intimidated trying to do the same as such careers are not seen as “popular” and “normal” for them. The lack of representation may also devaluate aspiring female researchers, causing society to miss out on potential ground-breaking contributions and important role models (Keating, 2018). As one of the biggest awards on Earth, the Nobel Prize is at the forefront of creating new leaders for others to follow. Hence, including gender diversity as part of its criteria for the Nobel Prize nominations may help with the creation of new female role models for young girls and women to follow, allowing lesser animosity towards female researchers and building a bridge to better connect them to what will be once known as a male-dominated industry.
As the Nobel Prize prides itself on fairly awarding those who have made great contributions for humanity, many argue that the inclusion of gender diversity may disparage the overall prestigious quality of the ceremony. However, the consideration of gender diversity in the judging criteria of Nobel Prize nominations has proven to be positive (albeit with little impact as a whole. By actively considering women alongside men during nominations, nominators will be able to make more varied choices and decide more objectively whose research deserves recognition for their work.
The Nobel Prize has witnessed many significant changes within the science community. With the inclusion of gender diversity in its nomination criteria, it may observe a significant change on its own by allowing new role models to lead and create an equal and fair goal to strive towards for all women.
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