The award should be given for the most important discoveries, not in honor of the gender or ethnicity of the scientists, Goran Hansson, head of the Academy for the Nobel Prize in Science, said in response to a question from the AFP news agency about whether gender quotas might be introduced.
Hansson stressed that they want people to continue to win the award “because they made the most important discovery…not because of their gender or ethnicity.”
Hansson also said it was saddening that there were so few female Nobel laureates, a fact which reflected the unfair conditions that have historically prevailed in society, especially in recent years, but which still exist. There is much to be done in this area, he said, but it nevertheless has been decided that there will be no gender or ethnic quota in judging awards.
The decision, according to Hansson, is “in accordance with the spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will”, who in his will of 1894 recommended the prize to those who are most worthy of it and who make the most important contributions.
Since the award was founded in 1901, 59 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women; this year, Maria Ressa, a journalist living in the Philippines, was the only woman to receive the recognition.