Prof. Maria Stamelou, Co-Chair of the EAN Ethics and Quality Task Force
Prof. Elena Moro interviews Prof. Maria Stamelou
Dear Prof. Stamelou, dear Maria,
I congratulate you very much on the 2019 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science prize that you won.
Prof. Elena Moro (EM): Can you please briefly illustrate the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative, its aims and goals?
Prof. Maria Stamelou (MS): The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards initiative began 20 years ago with the aim to support and recognize accomplished women researchers, and also to encourage young women to choose a career in science by actively supporting them. It is common knowledge that women are underrepresented in science and even more in leadership positions. This has partly to do with stereotypes and prejudices and there is enough published evidence proving this. The idea is to build up confidence to young girls and to make them go for what they are dreaming of, a right that every person regardless gender, color or ethnicity should have.
EM: What made you apply for this prestigious initiative and what research did you put forward?
MS: There are still great barriers that discourage women from entering the profession and obstacles continue to block progress for those already in the field. A woman is being interrupted when talking every 10 seconds by a man in a meeting and tends to get less funding based on her gender as published recently in studies. I wished to support the idea of equality through this award and actively contribute to supporting younger women to get involved in the field, as I have a strong belief that science needs the best of all to move forward not the best of a certain group. My clinical research is mainly on etiology, diagnosis and treatment of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, and the recently published new clinical criteria for diagnosis offer new avenues for diagnosis and hopefully discovery of biomarkers in this disease.
EM: This initiative offers different categories in which women can apply. Can you tell us more about the choice you made?
MS: My choice was to apply for this award, as I wanted to emphasize the fact that research can be done in Greece and we should keep going despite the recent financial problems in our country. I also wanted to be an ambassador of Greek Women in Science and also to maybe give a motive to young scientists that left our country due to these problems, to eventually return and help in building up things here again.
EM: It would be useful to bring the International Rising Talents program to the attention of the EANpages readers. Can you tell us more about this?
MS: The L’Oréal-UNESCO partnership has established several categories of awards. One of these is the International Rising Talents program, in which the International Rising Talents are chosen from among the researchers who have received fellowships from L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science’s national and regional programs. I would encourage young women in science to check these possibilities and apply, we need more neurology in these awards!!!