Jennifer Thomson, emeritus professor of microbiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, has been elected president of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) at the organisation's 5th General Assembly and International Conference in Kuwait.
OWSD is an international forum uniting eminent women scientists from the developing and developed worlds with the objective of strengthening women's representation in scientific and technological leadership and their role in development.
"My new role is merely an extension of my lifelong passion for promoting women in science,” says Thomson. “I co-founded SAWISE (SA Women in Science and Engineering) in 1995 and it is still going strong at UCT.”
According to Thomson, the main objective of OWSA is “to see national chapters being formed in every country in the developing world to promote women's representation in scientific and technological leadership”. She is currently also the chairperson of the South African National Chapter of the OWSD.
Thomson's election as president of OWSD is just the latest in a series of achievements and accolades earned over the years. She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), has won the L'Oréal-UNESCO award for Women in Science in 2004, is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne and has published three books: Genes for Africa, Seeds for the Future and Food for Africa.
Most recently, Thomson has been named a finalist in two categories of the 18th National Science and Technology Forum Awards (NSTF): the lifetime award for outstanding contribution to science and technology, and a special award in crop science and food security. (The winners will be announced on 30 June 2016.)
Says Patricia Scholtz, communication manager of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), which has hosted the South African OWSD National Chapter since 2009:
“Prof Thomson's election to this influential position is a testament to her personal dedication to the promotion of women in and for science, as well as recognition of the support that she will receive from ASSAf in the execution of her duties. It presents an opportunity to raise the profile and impact of the work that is being done in South Africa on such issues.”
Compiled Birgit Ottermann. Photo supplied.
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