L’Oreal Lets Us Know That Some Women Are Pretty Into Science

Little known fact: L'Oreal is a big supporter of female scientists.

The make-up empire awards four fellowships a year to female scientists and allows them to spend the money on anything they want, even "childcare if they like", which is pretty awesome.

In case you are confused by the mysterious existence of women who are actually interested in science, blame the age old "women just aren't into science and math" myth — a myth the scientists at L'Oreal would be more than happy to weigh in on, as it seems to bother them just as much as it bothers you:

"The big myth," said Nathalie Pettorelli, a research fellow in biology, specialising in climate change, "is that women aren't interested in science. There are plenty of female undergraduates - in biology it's better than 50-50 - but they don't stay."

This is for all the obvious reasons: throughout one's 20s, never mind being badly paid, it's itinerant. You have to go abroad if you want to be taken seriously. Depending on your area, you might have to do field trips for months. Then, just when the serious jobs come up, you still have to be prepared to go anywhere.

But "it's just an unfortunate coincidence", research fellow Seirian Sumner told me, "that this is when your life priorities kick in; you have to decide what you're going to do about getting married, having kids, buying a house."

It really makes you wonder just how many of the "men are very different from women" stereotypes have to do with the fact that one gender is more likely to think of how the decisions they make now will affect their future family.

It's never that simple, but it seems to be a common theme.

Why does it take L'Oréal to tell us women are interested in science? [Guardian]