Despite progress over the past decades, women remain under-represented in executive positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Female students tend to do very well in math and science early in their academic careers but often take other career paths. Many countries are working to close the gender gap and are developing policies to reverse this trend. However, considering the increasing demand worldwide for skilled workers in all areas of science and technology, including in the nuclear energy sector, more advocacy is needed to encourage the next generation and to capture their interest in these fields.
It is in this spirit that the NEA partnered with Japan’s National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) to organise a mentoring workshop on July 25-26, 2017 in Chiba, Japan. This International Mentoring Workshop in Science and Engineering was a positive step, offering young Japanese women what was, for some, a life-changing experience. Seven women leaders from Canada, France, Japan, Russia and the United States led a series of discussions and exercises with young female students, encouraging them to explore science and engineering careers and suggesting ways to overcome potential barriers.