2021, a year full of female voices

2021 is a year with a woman’s name and to remember. There are many protagonists in these months, in which several scientists have been awarded for their achievements to get the vaccine against covid-19 in the midst of a pandemic.

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They are joined by the voices of those who ask politicians and society in general to fight to save the planet. And, without forgetting, the critical ideas of writers, sociologists, politicians… On the current international map.


If the coronavirus vaccines They will appear as one of the great achievements of these years 2020, 2021 or 2022 due to the pandemic, the women who have led its development are also to be highlighted.

In this year two women, the British vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert and the Hungarian biologist Katalin Karikó, have been distinguished, along with five men, with the Princess of Asturias Award of Scientific and Technical Research for their joint contribution to the development of vaccines against covid-19.

Gilbert and Karikó They have worked hand in hand with Canadian biologist Derrick Rossi, American immunologist Drew Weissman, German doctors Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, and American biochemist Philip Felgner.

There are seven scientists who have collaborated, each one from their laboratory and with their teams, for a common cause, to be able to develop the vaccine against covid-19, effectively and in a Record time.

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After hearing the ruling of the Princess of Asturias Award, Gilbert herself said she was “delighted” to obtain this distinction and said about scientists, men and women: “They have worked hard to create and develop vaccines against it. SARS-CoV-2, which are being used on a large scale to save lives around the world. Together we have made a difference. “

We must also highlight Chen Wei and Kizzmekia Corbett, example of entrepreneurs and constants in the world of research. Their achievements have played an important role in the process towards the development of the aforementioned covid-19 vaccines.

Wei, an epidemiologist and general in the Chinese Army, has worked to combat the pandemic thanks to her knowledge of coronaviruses and is known as “the Terminator” of Ebola.

For his part Corbett She works as an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States and is one of the scientists on the team that developed the mRNA-based covid-19 vaccine for Moderna.


Along the same lines, there are many Spanish women who have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. Isabel Sola, co-director with Luis Enjuanes of the coronavirus laboratory of the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB), from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), has been investigating the families of coronaviruses for years.

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Sola is one of the people who knows the most about coronaviruses in Spain, her team has played an important role after having designed prototypes of vaccines against previous coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS.

The CSIC virologist Margarita del Val has starred in multiple television connections, becoming a familiar face and a voice in the world of science. Del Val coordinates 150 teams united through the CSIC in a large multidisciplinary research platform on the pandemic that receives the name of Global Health.

In addition to carrying out outstanding communicative and pedagogical work during this social crisis, he has worked for decades to provide scientific answers to society from different areas.

Along with them, it is worth mentioning the investigations of Lorena Sánchez-Felipe than from the Rega Institute in Leuven (Belgium), where he is working on the development of a vaccine that could change the course of the pandemic, based on the vaccine that already exists against yellow fever.

“What we expect, based on previous results with this type of vaccine, is long-term immunity,” he said. Sánchez-Felipe to Business Insider.

“The yellow fever vaccine acts as an attenuated virus vector that carries a coronavirus antigen to train the immune system to recognize it,” he indicated.

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The international fight against the effects of climate change has brought together the voice and leadership of many women, from Greta Thunberg to the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Muta Maathai.

A search for change that takes force under the work of women present in isolated areas of the American continent.

There are many who, from international organizations or summits, have raised their voices throughout this 2021. To the Swedish Greta thunberg names such as the Kenyan Elizabeth Wathuti have been added; the Costa Rican and architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres; or the head of the United Nations in matters of climate change, the Mexican Patricia Espinosa. All of them, references in the Summit of the Climate of Glasgow (Scotland).

Among those who lead projects to protect ecosystems, for the defense of human rights and of nature, we highlight two women with history for this 2021: Gro Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, as the originator of the term “sustainable development” in 1987; the Kenyan Wangari Maathai, who was the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for “her contribution to sustainable development and democracy.”

The gender, environment and climate change specialist of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Latin America, Andrea Quesada, assured in an interview with Efe: “Many of these new leaders are in the branches of the trees that these transformative women planted at the time and the most interesting thing is that the diversity of voices”.


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The indigenous Waorani, Nemonte Nenquimo, is one of those new leaders: “We live from the jungle, fishing, hunting and the land. Our Amazon is full of diversity, life, and that is why we respect it. But the western world does not understand it. For them it is a pure green area, “he also told Efe.

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Born in Ecuador He has starred in several campaigns to prevent oil companies from settling in his indigenous community, located in the Amazon province of Pastaza.

In 2020 he received the Goldman Environmental Award, considered the “Nobel” for the environment, a recognition for the thousands of women in the world who defend the Amazon, both life and territory. “These women are inside me and thanks to that I can show my face.”

Nenquimo, who has been highly critical of international agreements on climate change, did not attend the COP26, despite being invited because “I did not want to return with nothing.”

Alexandra Narváez, leader of the Cofán community of Sinangoe, fights so that large mining companies do not enter the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“I was the first who asked to join the group of guards to make tours and take care of the territory. At first it was very hard, I received a lot of criticism, but I had the support of my family,” he recalled in a conversation with Efe.


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“Now there are women and girls who say they want to lead and take care of their territory. I think I am leaving a seed for him. future“.

It is known that throughout history there are multiple examples of women who, despite their achievements and intellectual work developed, they have not been recognized as they deserve, but now, let’s work to prevent this from happening.

We would like to say thanks to the writer of this write-up for this incredible material

2021, a year full of female voices