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Winner of the Women & Girls in Astronomy Prize Announced

17 October 2019


The Astro Molo Mhalaba Project IAU100 Women & Girls in Astronomy event in February 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa

Credit: Margherita Molaro, The Astro Molo Mhalaba Project

The Astro Molo Mhalaba project has been selected as the winner of the Women & Girls in Astronomy Prize. This initiative engaged underserved communities in Cape Town, South Africa through astronomy outreach activities in February 2019.


In 2019, over 250 events have been organised thus far for IAU100’s Women and Girls in Astronomy initiative. As part of this project, a special contest was organised to recognize and celebrate the efforts of event organizers worldwide who promote women and girls in astronomy through the organization of innovative, creative, accessible, and sustainable public outreach events. Based on the event reports submitted by the event organisers, the Astro Molo Mhalaba project was selected as the winner.


The opening Astro Molo Mhalaba project engaged more than one hundred girls from underserved communities of Cape Town, South Africa through fun, inclusive and interactive astronomy outreach activities. The event involved active discussions with 13 female astronomers from the University of the Western Cape, the University of Cape Town, the South African Astronomical Observatory, the South African Radio Astronomical Observatory and London’s Queen Mary University. The event also included a visit from NASA Astronaut Dr. Ellen Baker and IAU OAD office representatives. This event was the kick-off of the activities of the projects during the year with the support of a grant from the IAU OAD.

One of the project’s organisers, Mahaneng Phali, will attend IAUS 358 Symposium "Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion" in Tokyo, Japan in November. This meeting intends to actively consolidate and present best practices for identifying and addressing barriers to equal participation, expand our knowledge of diverse workplace policies, present new assistive technologies and demonstrate the advantages of diverse environments for research.


Margherita Molaro

Astro Molo Mhalaba project coordinator 

Hannah Harris

Project Manager, IAU100 Inclusive Astronomy


Lina Canas

On behalf of the IAUS358 Organizing Committees

Jorge Rivero González

IAU100 Coordinator

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