Remarks by Director General Yukiya Amano on International Women's Day

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses participants at the panel discussion on 'Breaking Barriers: Leading nuclear executives share their paths to success', which the Agency organized to mark International Women's Day 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues.

I am pleased to welcome you all to this celebration of International Women’s Day.

Last year, our focus was on bright young women starting out in their careers in the nuclear field.

This year, I am very pleased that the focus is on women who have already achieved a great deal in their careers – and in the field of nuclear power, in particular.

Our panellists are proof that Breaking Barriers really is possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As IAEA Director General, I take the target of achieving equal representation for women at all levels at the Agency very seriously.

The proportion of women in senior management positions is now higher than it has ever been at 29%.  

That is progress, but it is not good enough. My goal in the coming years is to appoint more women to very senior positions in the Agency.

I have also emphasized to Deputy Directors General, Directors and Section Heads that they should pay special attention to finding well-qualified women, especially for senior positions.

The priority must always be to appoint staff with the highest standards of integrity, efficiency and technical competence, regardless of gender. I believe this is compatible with the goal of improving the representation of women.

We have taken many initiatives to attract more qualified female candidates. These include actively engaging with social media, launching special outreach programmes which target young female scientists and engineers, and raising the visibility of women in our films and brochures.

We are very conscious of gender issues in our everyday work.

For example, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, Mr Dazhu Yang, encourages Member States to seek qualified female candidates for Agency fellowships and training courses and to participate in our meetings.

In 2015, more than 4,000 women took part in TC training programmes, accounting for around a third of all participants. This helps to build a pool of qualified women for the future. We expect a steady increase in the proportion of female participants in Agency programmes.

Departmental level reporting on gender related staffing and programmatic activities has been strengthened, and the gender focal point programme has been revitalized.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I said last year, I am constantly struck by the fact that more and more of the scientists, engineers and medical professionals whom I meet on my duty travel are women. This is true all over the world.

I am proud that many of these highly skilled women have received training or fellowships from the Agency. Many are already in senior positions and that proportion will increase in the coming decades.

That will be reflected in the staffing of the Agency. It will require joint efforts by the Agency and our Member States.

Achieving gender equality will underpin everything we do – both our efforts to make nuclear science and technology available for development, and the way we work ourselves within the Agency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will stop here because I know we are all looking forward to hearing from our distinguished panellists.

I thank you for your participation today and wish all my female colleagues a very happy International Women’s Day.