October 4, 2020, 06.10 PM

STOCKHOLM, KOMPAS.com – Only 5 percent of women are Nobel laureates, but the underrepresentation of women also spans to the Nobel committees.

Nobel committees select the prizewinners each year whereas Marie Curie, Mother Teresa and Malala are among the female Nobel laureates.

The Nobels for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics are all awarded in Sweden by separate committees, while the peace prize laureate is selected by a committee in Norway.

Read also: Greta Thunberg a Top Contender to Win Nobel Peace Prize

Both Scandinavian countries pride themselves on their reputations as champions of gender equality — yet on the Nobel committees, the underrepresentation of women is evident: Women make up only a quarter of members.

With the exception of the peace prize committee, all are also currently headed by men.

Would more women on the Nobel committees make a difference in the number of women laureates?

For Olav Njolstad, secretary of the peace committee in Oslo, the answer is: probably.

Since 2001, 24 women have won Nobel prizes, compared to 11 in the two decades leading up to 2000.

"It is not illogical to think that there is a connection between the increasing feminization of the committees and the growing number of female laureates," he told AFP.

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