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No Nobel Quotas

The head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says there will be no gender or ethnicity quotas for the Nobel Prizes, Agence France-Presse reports.

The AFP notes that only 59 Nobel Prizes have gone to women during the awards' more than 100 year history and that this year only one woman, Maria Ressa, was awarded a Nobel. A 2019 analysis found that, even while accounting for historical differences in gender representation and the later age at which Nobels are awarded, women are underrepresented among winners.

Previously, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences prize committee and the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute made changes to boost the representation of women and people from a more diverse geographical area. These changes, they said, led to the nomination of more women.

According to AFP, Göran Hansson, the secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, acknowledged the dearth of women among winners and says it "reflects the unfair conditions in society, particularly in years past but still existing." He adds they have decided not to have quotas because they want "every laureate [to] be accepted ... because they made the most important discovery, and not because of gender or ethnicity."