Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia

Agenda Item 6 (AOB): Statement on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear



IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Statement by Ms Alison Drury, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA

Agenda Item 6 (AOB): Statement on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear

22 November 2019


Thank you Chair,

Australia is pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear.

A group founded to support the International Atomic Energy Agency in increasing to parity the representation of women in the organisation’s Secretariat.



Reflective of the value ascribed by Member States to the question of gender equality we note that since the Group’s establishment two and a half years ago our membership has grown from 14 to 34 states.

Our members come from each of the Agency’s eight regional groups.  This reflects the far-reaching interest in advancing the IAEA’s gender equality goals – including at senior management levels and in the Agency’s programmatic work.

Indeed, as we have repeatedly emphasised, pursuing gender equity at an organisational level is not only the just thing to do but also the smart thing to do. 

Gender balance in teams has been proven to deliver better results.

On this point the Group of friends was strongly encouraged by the profile given to gender equality and women’s empowerment during the recent campaign to elect a new Director General of the Agency.  All candidates highlighted gender as a key management priority.

These discussions have been complemented by a number of recent gender-focused events – including during the September General Conference.  The Agency hosted an event on how to be an Employer of choice for women; Argentina hosted an event on mainstreaming a gender perspective in the nuclear field; and Mexico a networking event that drew in Agency members of Women in Nuclear Global.  Australia hosted an event on Women in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths in October.  

Forthcoming events supported by members of the Group include an event on 6 December, hosted by Canada in cooperation with WINS, on certified nuclear security training and opportunities to promote gender parity; a Women in Nuclear Global networking event on 10 December supported by Norway and Australia and an event on 27 November on Afghan Womens’ Empowerment, Development and Security, supported by Afghanistan.

The deeper and more sophisticated conversations we are having in Vienna on gender equality and women’s empowerment are an essential input to driving tangible change.



Another necessary element to driving results, of course, is strong and decisive leadership at the most senior level.

On this, the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear would like to thank the Acting Director General, Mr Cornel Feruta for his focus and responsiveness on questions of gender during his term.

The Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear looks forward to working with Director General elect Mr Rafael Grossi.  We are encouraged by his pledge that women will quote “have equal opportunity at the IAEA” and his acknowledgement, and I quote again that “further efforts will be needed to reach equality within the Secretariat”.  We note also his stated commitment to make faster progress toward the goal of gender parity a performance indicator for all managers.

The Members of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear stand ready and willing to help the Secretariat of the IAEA with those further efforts to achieve gender equality across functional areas of the Agency’s work; across the breadth of the professional employment categories as well as in mainstreaming gender in the Agency’s programmes and activities.



In closing, I again wish to remind delegations who share our gender equality goals of the opportunity to join the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear.

If you would like to join, please make your interest known to one of the Group’s Co-Chairs – Australia or Mexico.

Thank you.