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Mind the Gap: IAEA Celebrates the Inauguration of the Regional Women in Nuclear Chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean


Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, delivers his remarks to nearly 140 attendees of the inauguration ceremony of Women in Nuclear ARCAL. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Scientists, policy makers and counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean joined IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi for the inauguration ceremony of the IAEA-supported regional chapter of Women in Nuclear (WiN) in Latin America and the Caribbean on Friday. WiN is an international non-profit organization with over 35 000 members, dedicated to highlighting and expanding the role of women in the nuclear sector. The new Latin American and Caribbean chapter, called WiN ARCAL, seeks to reduce the gender gap in science through knowledge-sharing, public awareness raising and training.

“I am aware that the work of Women in Nuclear, both at the regional and global levels, is challenging, and that’s the reason why we’re here,” said Mr Grossi. “We are not here to complain about the realities facing women, nor to comment on them, but to change those realities. This is the spirit of Women in Nuclear.”

Globally, women comprise less than a quarter of professionals working in the nuclear sector, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, their representation is often even lower, particularly in senior roles. By limiting the diversity of perspectives and stifling innovation, this persisting gender gap harms the sector, said Dominique Mouillot, President of the Global Chapter of Women in Nuclear.

“Over the past years, we have been making strong efforts to support the creation of regional chapters, as crucial pillars to expand our network and legitimacy,” she said. “We are delighted to learn that WiN ARCAL is already implementing concrete actions to work on gender equality and is responding to real, local needs in the region.”

Dominique Mouillot, President of WiN Global, speaking at the WiN ARCAL side event. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The development of the new WiN chapter, in cooperation with the ARCAL Regional Cooperative Agreement, was facilitated by IAEA technical cooperation projects to support equal participation of women in nuclear science and technology by promoting their contribution to technical, scientific and leadership roles in the field. The project also builds on the achievements of previous IAEA efforts in the region to prepare young, female professionals for leadership responsibilities and to act as nuclear advocates in their respective national institutions.

It is led by a team of 12 women nuclear scientists and policy makers from Latin America, whose specialties range from nuclear medicine and radiotherapy to environmental monitoring and radiation safety. In addition to consolidating the various national chapters into a single, overarching network, the ongoing technical cooperation project will develop and make accessible a regional database to provide information on the participation of women in the nuclear sector, facilitating the future implementation of public policies targeting the gender gap in science.

This is part of a broader initiative by the IAEA to help close the gender gap in the nuclear sector. In the past five years, more than 1570 women scientists, including 243 from Latin America and the Caribbean, have completed fellowships. Furthermore, more than 5530 women have benefitted from IAEA training courses.

Similarly, WiN has provided continuous support to aspiring female nuclear professionals since its founding in 1993. With chapters in more than 145 countries, including a regional chapter in Africa, WiN promotes public awareness of the benefits of nuclear and radiation applications through its active networks.

Bringing together experts from 12 countries, the ongoing technical cooperation project is working to identify and overcome shared gender challenges in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

“This new WiN chapter, and its stakeholders, will accompany women at the beginning of their professional life, motivating their development and success within the field of nuclear safety, science and technology,” concluded Carmen Soteldo, a WiN counterpart in Venezuela.

The WiN ARCAL chapter was established in the framework of an ongoing, regional technical cooperation project, which aims to enhance women’s participation in the regional nuclear industry. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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