IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 5 (Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear): Any Other Business
23 November 2018
Australia as Co-Chair is pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear.
Our Group is growing.
Our membership now comprises: Afghanistan, Austria, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Jordan, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, The Slovak Republic, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
And let me now acknowledge and welcome our newest group member the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose accession brings our membership to 26 Member States.
Since the groups’ inception in June 2017 our membership has almost doubled, and our regional diversity has grown.
This reflects a broad and deep level of interest among member states in promoting the Group’s key objectives of supporting the Agency to achieve parity in the representation of women in the IAEA Secretariat, and in encouraging more opportunities for women in the nuclear sector at the national level.
Since our statement to the Board in September, the Group has maintained its firm efforts to advocate and act in support of gender equality.
As co-chair of the Group, Ambassador of Mexico HE Alicia Buenrostro Massieu participated as a panellist in the Agency’s Gender-focused side event at the 2018 General Conference.
Also on that panel was Gwen Parry Jones – Director of Nuclear Operations at UK energy company Horizon Nuclear Power – and the first female nuclear plant manager and station director in the UK.
That panel emphasised the importance of leadership – and setting the right tone at the top – as being key to achieving broad-based organisational commitment on gender equality.
On this point we again welcome Director General Amano’s continued focus on achieving gender equality at the IAEA, including at the all-important senior level where we are pleased to note that two Director-level posts have recently been filled by women.
And in this connection we also note – as confirmed by a body of research that leadership – and active engagement – at the most senior level is crucial if any organisation is to make progress towards achieving gender parity.
The Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear was also pleased to host a gender-focused event on 27 September at the Australian Ambassadorial Residence.
On the theme: Embedding gender equality through Organisational Change.
We very much welcomed the participation and presentation at this event by Deputy Director General Mary Alice Hayward, as well as participation by members of the Agency’s Gender Focal Point network.
We believe members of the Gender Focal Point Network have a key role to play as advocates within the IAEA for gender equality in the workplace.
The Group also welcomes the fact women represented 53% of the almost 400 participants at the
International Symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public, which was held in Vienna under IAEA auspices from 1 to 5 October.
Given the focus on Technical Cooperation at this session of the Board, the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear wishes to emphasise the value we attach to the Agency’s ongoing and active efforts to ensure and to apply gender mainstreaming principles in the TC program.
This mainstreaming approach is important in the Agency’s efforts to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, including under SDG 5 to achieve gender equality, and to empower all women and girls.
Accordingly, the Group has taken note of the most recent Report by the Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services that evaluates TC activities in three countries in 2018.
We welcome the OIOS’s emphasis on gender considerations in the context of their evaluations, and the gender-focused recommendations in the report, including that tangible measures be included in TC project design to promote women’s participation in Agency activities.
The report does, however, find that gender perspectives were not adequately addressed in most project design documentation under review, and that women continued to be under represented in reviewed Agency activities.
This demonstrates that there remains considerable work to be done to ensure equal participation of men and women in the Agency’s TC work.
For this reason, we urge the Agency to consider the recommendations in the IOIS report with a view to addressing any shortcomings related to gender.
Members of the Group of Friends look forward to the forthcoming Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, and welcome that gender considerations will be a key focus.
As part of this, we look forward to – and encourage – broad attendance at the session on 30 November on women in nuclear science and technology, which will feature distinguished panellists from Ghana, Australia, Italy and Costa Rica.
Finally – Chair – the Group would like to take this opportunity 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 the Group, please make your interest known to one of the Group’s Co-Chairs – Australia or Mexico.
As the research on organisational effectiveness shows – gender equality is not just the right – but also the smart thing to be striving for.
So why not get with the strength?
Thank you, Chair.