Left to right: Carolyn Bertozzi (American Chemical Society) and Annie Erneaux (Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Zonta International celebrates newest female Nobel laureates

Zonta International congratulates the latest two women to win a Nobel Prize: Annie Ernaux and Carolyn Bertozzi. Just 60 women have won the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2022.

Erneaux, 82, won the Nobel Prize in Literature 2022 "for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory," according to a press release.

The French writer and professor of literature is popular for her autobiographical writing. Her notable work includes Simple Passion, A Woman's Story, A Man's Place and The Years.

"She writes about things that no one else writes about—for instance, her abortion, her jealousy, her experiences as an abandoned lover and so forth. I mean, really hard experiences," Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel literature committee, said after the award announcement in Stockholm. "And she gives words for these experiences that are very simple and striking. They are short books, but they are really moving."

Erneaux is the first female French Nobel literature winner and the 17th woman among the 119 Nobel literature laureates.

Bertozzi, 55, shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 with two colleagues, who have helped to develop click chemistry, a functional form of chemistry where molecular build blocks snap together and work efficiently. She is also recognized for founding the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, a set of chemical reactions that allow researchers to study molecules and their interactions in living things without interfering with natural biological processes.

The American chemist is currently a researcher and professor at Stanford University in California.

"In pioneering the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, Carolyn invented a new way of studying biomolecular processes, one that has helped scientists around the world gain deeper understanding of chemical reactions in living systems," Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said. "Her work has had remarkable real-world impact, unleashing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treat disease. Carolyn is so deserving of this honor, and all of us at Stanford are tremendously proud to call her one of our own."

Bertozzi is proud to represent the LGBTQ+ community and is vocal about issues around women's rights, gender imbalances, LGTQ+ rights and equal pay. She is just the eighth woman among the 191 Nobel chemistry laureates and the first female Harvard College graduate to win a Nobel Prize.

Named after Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace and economic sciences. There is only one prize per category, but the honor can go to a maximum of three individuals.

Only 6% of Nobel laureates have been women in the last 121 years. The underrepresentation of women Nobel laureates is another indicator of how slow the progress is on gender equality.

14 OCTOBER 2022