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IAEA Director General Named to Board of International Gender Champions

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Launching of the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at the launch of the Marie Slodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi yesterday accepted an invitation to join the Board of the International Gender Champions, further demonstrating his commitment to gender parity. Mr Grossi becomes one of only two men on the ten-member Board and the first Vienna-based gender champion on the Global Board.

Mr Grossi said: “Women are far from being adequately represented in many important fields of life, including in nuclear science and technology. It is my priority to achieve gender parity at the IAEA and now as a Board Member to also advocate for a more inclusive work environment globally.”

An International Gender Champion

The International Gender Champions (IGC) organization brings together leaders and decision makers working to confront gender barriers and make gender equality a reality. Founded five years ago, the IGC network has more than 250 members.

Its board is made up of heads of organizations, diplomatic missions and institutions around the globe. They all share the goal of increasing the representation of women within their ranks.

Before joining the ICG, members must take the “IGC Panel Parity Pledge”. This is a commitment to raise awareness of the need for gender parity. Furthermore, they must promise not to take part in panels that lack diverse representation of men and women. Members must also agree to implement two S.M.A.R.T. commitments a year. These are steps towards gender equality, such as adopting a relevant policy or promoting parity throughout an organization.

“The IGC is delighted to welcome Mr. Grossi to the Board,” said Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Chair of the IGC’s Global Board. “His leadership within the Vienna hub and commitment to prioritizing gender equality both within his organization – to create a truly inclusive and enabling environment, – and in the field of atomic energy, are a great inspiration within the IGC community.”

Achieving gender parity at the IAEA

Since his appointment as Director General last year, Mr Grossi has been actively advancing gender equality at the IAEA and beyond. Two examples of this, which would satisfy the IGC S.M.A.R.T. commitments, are: his pledge to reach gender parity among the IAEA’s professional staff by 2025; and his launch of the ambitious annual Maria Sklodowska Curie Fellowship programme, under which the first 100 female winners in November were awarded fellowships to finance their Master’s degrees in nuclear subjects. 

“Through supporting women studying in the nuclear field, such as nuclear sciences and technologies and non-proliferation studies, we can encourage the next generation of female nuclear experts,” Mr Grossi said when announcing the initiative.

At the IAEA, Mr Grossi has introduced gender-balanced short lists and reducing bias in the recruiting process.

“In attracting more women experts to the Agency and accelerating the appointment of women where there is low representation, the aim of achieving gender parity − 50 percent women and 50 percent men − is possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, he has encouraged a more balanced representation of women and men in programme activities, including when candidates are selected for fellowships and training.  Throughout his inaugural year as Director General, Mr Grossi has actively encouraged not only IAEA managers, but also Member States to consider the gender balance of their activities and candidates.

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