To mark International Women's Day 2024, more than 400 fellows from the IAEA's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (MSCFP) and the Lise Meitner Programmes (LMP) came together in Vienna to voice their shared vision for a more inclusive future in nuclear science and technology, as part of a two-day training and networking event. At the end of the two days they issued a statement expressing gratitude for the support and opportunities granted by the IAEA. “We are building a community of strong, talented and committed women aiming at improving and inspiring the world,” they said.

“We believe it is crucial to champion and empower women in nuclear science and technology. We are convinced that encouraging women to study science and technology is one of the main drivers for progress in societies, everywhere in the world. Women constitute a global talent pool to meet the technological challenges of today, to drive economic growth and diffuse knowledge.” Closing the gender gap and breaking stereotypes in STEM (science, technology engineering & mathematics) “not only promotes fairness and equality but also maximises human potential to tackle global challenges”.

They said the nuclear field needs to become more accessible to women. “We believe that women’s participation will contribute significantly to the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology for a better and more sustainable future for our generations to come. Therefore, we must encourage women from all over the world to pursue careers in nuclear science and technology.”

The participants said:

  • We stand for a more inclusive workplace in STEM.
  • We stand for more women from developing countries to join the nuclear field, leading to more diverse nuclear workforce across different countries, cultures and societies.
  • We stand for peaceful, safe and secure nuclear technologies, instrumental to fight climate change while ensuring energy security and sustainable development. This includes active participation of more women in policy making.
  • We recognise the unique value of the IAEA MSCFP and LMP and we appeal to donors and partners to continue supporting these programmes.
  • We are committed to the IAEA gender equality actions for more women in nuclear.

According to the IAEA, only a fifth of the global nuclear workforce are women and it "aims to change this by attracting a new generation of women to the nuclear field and inspiring them to stay and become leaders".

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that gender equality "is not just right – it is imperative for net zero, battling cancer, and ending global hunger". HE also posted a message on social media calling participants in the event "trailblazers … reshaping the nuclear field, embodying our goal to open doors & break down barriers. The world needs nuclear and #NuclearNeedsWomen".

During the event the World Nuclear Association signed an agreement with the IAEA to jointly promote professional development opportunities for women by providing opportunities within the nuclear industry for those taking part in the two programmes.

Image: Participants of the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme and Lise Meitner Programme with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, at the International Women’s Day event “For More Women in Nuclear” on 7 March 2024 in Vienna, Austria (courtesy of IAEA)