Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,
This is my first opportunity as Director General to share with you my views on the representation of women in the Secretariat.
For many years, the proportion of Professional women at the Agency was among the lowest in the UN system - about 18%. This partially reflected the traditionally low number of women in the nuclear sciences. We can take some pride in the progress that we have made in recent years. Women now account for around 23% of Professional staff.
But this is still too low.
The progress seen to date is a result of joint efforts by you, the Member States, and the Secretariat. The creation of this group - the Member States Points of Contact - has been key.
Sixty Member States have designated Points of Contact. This means, however, that a surprisingly large number of countries, including some Board members, have not yet joined. I encourage them to sign up today.
As Director General, I would like to see more women in senior positions and I want Agency staff to be recruited from as broad a geographical distribution as possible.
In my first few months in office, I have already made special efforts to recruit women to Professional positions, with some success. My first concern is naturally to recruit the best qualified person. However, in selection processes I will always give prominent consideration to the need to proactively increase the number of women working in the Secretariat.
More and more women are now working in the nuclear industry as engineers, managers, inspectors, chemists, physicists and environmentalists.
But I must tell you honestly: while it is difficult to find well-qualified women for P-positions in the Agency, it is particularly difficult to find suitable female candidates for more senior posts. We very much need your help in getting the message out to highly-qualified women with long experience of the nuclear sector that the Agency is a great place to work.
Change will not happen overnight, but during my tenure as Director General, I hope to see a steady increase in the proportion of senior female professionals working for the Agency.
In recent years, the Agency has worked hard to help staff balance the demands of work and family. Maternity and paternity leave, flexible working hours, part-time work and child care facilities have helped to make the Agency an attractive potential employer for both men and women.
As Points of Contact, you can help us to identity well-qualified women candidates in your countries. You can also help to ensure that Agency vacancy notices are brought to the attention of possible candidates.
In closing, let me underscore that I attach great importance to recruiting well-qualified women candidates and I look forward to working with you on this.