The NEA encourages its members to explore ways of recruiting and retaining women in science & technology, and new approaches to improve gender balance in the nuclear sector. As part of these efforts, the Agency launched a high-level working group to recommend policies to improve the gender balance in the nuclear science and technology sector.
In follow-up to the first formal meeting of the group held on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in February, the NEA convened a second meeting on 25 March 2021 to discuss and explore methodologies for the collection of data on women in the nuclear energy sector. The meeting was chaired by Aleshia Duncan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation in the Office of Nuclear Energy at the United States Department of Energy.
The participating experts identified indicators and partners for an international data collection initiative to gather baseline data on women in the nuclear energy sector. There was consensus on the importance of incorporating qualitative data in this initiative. While quantitative data is important for establishing patterns and trends, qualitative data would provide insights on the challenges and barriers faced by women during their studies and careers that may be unique to the nuclear sector.
As the Agency celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in February and the Women’s History Month in March, it also gave the floor to the women scientists of the NEA to speak about the role of women in the nuclear field. The NEA's senior management team, with leaders such as Rebecca Tadesse and Véronique Rouyer, is an example of how women can and do lead in the nuclear energy sector. The Agency is also proud to have a very high percentage of female staff – currently 41% of science and engineering staff at the NEA are women.