Fiona RAYMENT, United Kingdom
|Member(s):||All NEA member countries*|
|*Russian Federation suspended pursuant to a decision of the OECD Council.|
Under the NEA Statute
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)|
|Date of creation:||10 September 2021|
|End of mandate:||31 December 2023|
Mandate (Document reference):
Mandate (Document extract):
Extract of document NEA/NE(2021)15/REV1
The mandate of the NEA Task Group on Improving the Gender Balance in the Nuclear Sector (GB-TG) is to identify data gaps associated with the role women from diverse backgrounds play in the nuclear energy sector, collect and organise the data necessary to inform policymakers, and develop an international policy framework to help member countries address barriers and challenges related to the development and sustainment of careers for women in the nuclear sector. The GB-TG serves as a forum for discussion and sharing information as well as an action-oriented vehicle for collecting data, analysis, and elaborating policy for tracking and increasing the contributions of diverse women to the sector to achieve gender balance. The GB‑TG will formulate a data-driven proposal for an international policy instrument and assist NEA members with its implementation through toolkits and best practices.
In recent years, many countries have made important steps in increasing female representation in leadership positions, promoting women’s entrepreneurship and encouraging more young women to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Many NEA member countries already adhere to OECD legal instruments on gender equality. These include the 2013 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship [OECD/LEGAL/0398], which addresses issues such as education, leadership roles, work-life balance, and equal pay, with some focus on STEM-specific issues; and the 2015 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Gender Equality in Public Life [OECD/LEGAL/0418]. However, women continue to be under-represented in STEM fields, and significantly in nuclear science and technology, where women are in an even greater minority in leadership positions. This gender gap has important implications for the future of nuclear technology applications in many areas, including the generation of clean heat and power. The gender imbalance in the nuclear sector represents a tremendous loss in both qualitative and quantitative terms, as studies show that science and engineering benefit from diverse teams to drive innovation and productivity, and that diverse teams deliver higher performance. There is an increasing recognition that achieving gender balance in the nuclear workforce, including in STEM and leadership positions, is essential for the long-term vibrancy, sustainability, and innovation of the nuclear field.
A significant, global shift in workforce demographics is currently underway, with an increasing demand for trained staff in all areas related to nuclear technology, including energy applications, medicine and scientific research. The urgency of maintaining certain skills has been repeatedly highlighted by NEA member countries. To mitigate the risk of future shortages, capacity-building efforts focusing on STEM fields in general and on the nuclear sector in particular need to be sustained and reinforced. A crucial component of building the nuclear pipeline is attracting diverse women into the nuclear sector, supporting and developing them to succeed and take on leadership positions.
NEA member countries have raised gender balance as a matter of increasing importance that would benefit from international co-operation. In response, the NEA Secretariat invited NEA member countries to an Exploratory Meeting on Improving the Gender Balance in Nuclear Energy held 10-11 December 2019 in Paris, France. Representatives from ministries, regulators and technical support organisations from 12 member countries attended, along with representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Commission (EC). The main findings of the meeting, presented in document [NEA/NE(2020)16] highlight that:
The NEA Steering Committee, at its 140th session, noted the observations and outcomes of the NEA Exploratory Meeting on Improving the Gender Balance in Nuclear Energy held on 10-11 December 2019 presented in document [NEA/NE(2020)16] and supported the development of follow-up actions to improve the gender balance in nuclear energy under the auspices of the NEA [NEA/SUM(2020)3]. The recommendations are presented below as objectives for the GB-TG.
The GB-TG will support NEA member countries’ efforts to diversify and improve the gender balance in the nuclear sector by collection and analysis of data and best practices and formulating policy recommendations for women’s employment in the public and private domains of the nuclear sector and the education pipeline leading thereto.
Gender balance for the purpose of the GB-TG is defined as the achievement of participation by women in all fields and at all levels of seniority in nuclear sector organisations in numbers reflecting an equitable distribution of life’s opportunities and resources between women and men. For the Task Group, ‘women’ are broadly defined to be as inclusive as possible. ‘Diversity’ means not only a mixture of skills, competences, perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, but also valuing people on their own merit regardless of ethnic origin, nationality, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion or belief.
The GB-TG shall be composed of high-level representatives with policy-level responsibilities or significant and recognised expertise who are nominated by NEA member countries. Representation will be wide-ranging and may include government officials, industry and research institute experts, and academia.
The main objective of the GB-TG is to support NEA member countries working to enhance the contribution of diverse women and to improve the gender balance in the nuclear sector. In order to accomplish this, the Task Group will:
The GB-TG will conduct its activities through plenary meetings (once a year, and more, as needed, upon decision of the GB-TG and taking into account the Secretariat’s resources) and through the organisation of seminars and workshops as agreed by the members of the GB-TG. The GB-TG might form subgroups, i.e. on data collection.
The GB-TG will elect a Chair for a two-year period to co-ordinate and facilitate the work of the group. As determined by the GB-TG members, a Bureau may also be formed to support the Chair.
The GB-TG reports to the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy at least once per year.
Sharing updates and collaborating, as appropriate, with other entities such as the Women in Nuclear (WiN) network and the International Gender Champions Impact Group (IGC‑IG) on Gender Equality in Nuclear Regulatory Agencies.
The GB-TG with the support of the Secretariat will produce reports and other documents deemed appropriate by its members and the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy.
The specific objectives described above will be achieved through the following activities: