International platform for disarmament and non-proliferation dialogue, research and education

Women in All Things Nuclear: Then and Now

On 27 September 2016, the VCDNP, jointly with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), organized for the fourth year in a row an interactive roundtable on “Women in All Things Nuclear”. This year, the discussion focused on the important role women have played in the nuclear field over the past 60 years and on how to increase the role of women in nuclear in the future. The roundtable, which was moderated by Laura Rockwood, Executive Director of the VCDNP, was held as a side event to the 60th IAEA General Conference, and was made possible through sponsorship by the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano speaks at the “Women in All Things Nuclear” side event Photo credit: IAEA
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano speaks at the “Women in All Things Nuclear” side event
Photo credit: IAEA

Throughout the conversation it was noted that evident progress had been made in the role of women in nuclear, but that the progress had been slow and more could be done. In focusing on promoting gender equality and the role of women in nuclear, many invited speakers stressed the need to engage women at all ages in relevant fields, whether biology, medicine, chemistry, engineering or management. Women remain underrepresented in some sectors; what is needed are strong role models. It was in part the responsibility of women leaders to encourage and inspire others to dream big and believe that anything is possible for women. In looking back at key female contributors in the nuclear field, references were made to Marie Curie, Harriet Brooks and Bertha Maria Júlia Lutz. It was stressed, however, that these women’s accomplishments received recognition only much after the fact. Reflecting on the past made it clear that this conversation about the role of women in nuclear remained relevant, and that it needed to continue in order to make sure that women are more prominent in the field and that their talents and contributions are recognized in the nuclear community.

The event was also featured on the IAEA website.

VCDNP Executive Director Laura Rockwood moderated the event. Photo Credit: IAEA
VCDNP Executive Director Laura Rockwood moderated the event. Photo Credit: IAEA