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WiN ARCAL Chapter Launches Practical Guide on Gender-related Issues in Nuclear


ARCAL is an Agreement between most IAEA Member States in the Latin America and the Caribbean region for technical and economic cooperation to promote the use of nuclear techniques for peace and development. (Photo: J. O'Brien/IAEA) 

Seventy per cent of women working in the nuclear sector in Latin America and the Caribbean have reported gender-related institutional barriers in the pursuit of their careers, according to the findings of a survey featured in a new gender perspective publication by the Women in Nuclear ARCAL chapter. The publication was launched at the annual meeting of representatives to the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL), which took place on the margins of the 66th IAEA General Conference. 

Representatives from 20 States Parties to the Agreement convened to review regional progress and priorities, and to reinforce their commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology for sustainable development. 

The Latin American and Caribbean regional chapter of the organization, Women in Nuclear (WiN), was established in collaboration with ARCAL one year ago, in September 2021. The new guide identifies the main obstacles that women experience in the nuclear sector and aims to strengthen the capacities of national nuclear institutes by presenting potential strategies to promote the inclusion of gender mainstreaming at all levels, and consequently, enabling the active and equal participation of women. It was informed by a regional survey in 2022 of over 200 respondents from Latin America and the Caribbean, which highlighted that there are still obstacles to achieving gender equality in the nuclear sphere, with 40 per cent of women surveyed stating that they had experienced or witnessed gender bias in their workplace. 

“WiN ARCAL is working to promote capacity building and sustainable initiatives at national nuclear institutions for actions that will produce cultural change,” Melina Belinco, Vice President of WiN Global, said. “The new guide shows the obstacles that women face, so that we can do something about practices that contribute to the reduced presence of women in the nuclear sector to propose solutions and overcome these stumbling blocks,” Belinco added. 

Participants at the meeting also discussed future plans for technical cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean, which are detailed in the new ARCAL Regional Strategic Profile for 2020-2030, ‘ARCAL Agenda 2030’, underscoring the region’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. As part of this next phase, in addition to a continued focus on gender-related issues, themes including food and agriculture, human health and the environment will be given priority. Fourteen regional IAEA technical cooperation projects are currently being implemented in ARCAL State Parties, in areas such as health and nutrition, food and agriculture, water management and the environment, energy and radiation technology. 

“ARCAL plays a key role in promoting the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Hua Liu, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation. “The Agreement has proven to be an effective mechanism for supporting a strategic, coordinated approach to applying nuclear technology to address common challenges across the region,” Liu said. 

Women in Nuclear 

Women in Nuclear (WiN) is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 with the aim of bolstering the participation of women in the nuclear field. There are currently over 40 chapters globally, including 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

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