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Global women empowerment champions and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have joined forces to challenge gender imbalanced human resources strategies in the nuclear power sector.

This decision is the direct outcome of the discussion Gender balance and inclusion in nuclear energy as the key to success in sustainable development, which took place alongside the IAEA 64th session General Conference on 24 September 2020.

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The discussion explored gender balance and inclusion trends present in the global nuclear industry that can be applied in other industries.

Also on the agenda was the topic of STEM and education. A part of this ecosystem is the Women in Nuclear Russia community. Its participants promote STEM practices among young women, offer mentorship and stewardship opportunities, as well as support to female nuclear workers (totalling 86,000 in Russia) with a view to inspire and nurture their management and leadership skill set.

The successful case studies presented by the participants during the discussion have the potential to become the basis of the IAEA’s TECDOC series document, which will provide guidelines and recommendations for developing human resources strategies for gender balance for 171 countries – members of the IAEA.

World Nuclear Association (WNA) director general Agneta Rising said: “The changes that are needed to transition to a more sustainable future will not happen without the participation of diverse workforce and the inclusion of women.

“However, the energy sector remains one of the more gender-imbalanced and the nuclear sector is no exception. Today women make up less than a quarter of the workforce in the nuclear sector worldwide.

“There are still too few women who choose to study STEM subjects, there is also so-called glass ceiling that is still making difficult for women to access to senior positions.”

According to United Nations Industrial Development Organization Ambassador Veronika Peshkova, global women’s labour force participation rate is still 26.5% below the rate of men. She said: “Theoretically if women have experienced economic parity with men by 2025, it would have boosted global GDP by up to $28 trillion”.

ROSATOM chief human resources officer Tatiana Terentyeva noted: “Achieving our ambitious business goals means that we attract, develop, train and upskill employees all over the world.

Our human-centric people strategy aims to unlock the hidden potential of each and every employee, no matter where they are from or what their position is. Diversity of mindset among the employees is essential for any corporation to grow”.