On May 27, 2020 the workshop “Women in Nuclear” was held at National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI), organized by the International Center for Public Diplomacy of Institute of International Relations (IIR). 90 representatives from more than 30 international, governmental, educational, scientific organizations and production companies of Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine participated in the online meeting. The workshop was moderated by Artem Zharov, Deputy Head of the International Center for Public Diplomacy of the IIR NRNU MEPhI.

The participants noted that during last years the evident progress had been made in the role of women in nuclear, but that the progress had been slow, and more could be done. In focusing on promoting gender equality and the role of women in nuclear, there is a need to engage women at all ages in relevant nuclear-related fields, whether NPP operation, diplomacy, public relations, engineering, management or others. Women remain underrepresented in some sectors; what is needed are strong role models. It was in part the responsibility of women leaders to encourage and inspire others to dream big and believe that anything is possible for women.

The importance of the role of women in the development of the nuclear field was pointed out in the welcoming addresses by: Tatiana Leonova – Vice-Rector of the NRNU MEPhI, Maria Ganchenkova – Deputy Minister of Digital and Technological Development of Sakhalin Region, Boris Tulinov – Director of the IIR NRNU MEPhI, Edward Lozansky – President of the American University in Moscow, Natalia Omerova – Head of the NRNU MEPhI Grant office, Andrey Cherkasskiy –Deputy Director of the IIR NRNU MEPhI, Konstantin Kogos – Head of the International Scientific and Methodological Center of the NRNU MEPhI and Elena Tsivkunova – Head of the Department of Special Linguistic Training, NRNU MEPhI.
Alyona Yakovleva, President of the Russian branch of the international organization “Women of the Nuclear Industry (WIN Global)”, spoke about the activities of the organization, which unites 35,000 women specialists in 48 branches around the world and contributes to their professional development.

Anastasia Shavrova, Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Energy and Security Studies shared her experience in a scientific organization with the participants. While choosing this career, it is necessary to take into account the presence of high competition and you must be ready to work on a wide range of issues.

Elena Zhivitskaya, Head of the IAEA Maria Skladovskaya-Curie project, presented the IAEA scholarship program named after Maria Skłodowska-Curie, which allows talented students to study in nuclear fields and to participate in internship at the IAEA for 6-12 months.

Veronika Bedenko, Analyst for Open Nuclear Network, the program “One Earth Future”, devoted her speech to the issue of gender balance in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament forums. Increasing number of women participating in such forums is important because women have the right to full and equal representation, as enshrined in the main international human rights instruments. According to the speaker, the participation of women increases the effectiveness of the attempted measures and leads to a change of discourse – they bring a new vision as they have a unique experience. Answering questions about her career, Veronika Bedenko advised students to be more active and constantly raise the level of knowledge.

Natalia Zhurina, Research Officer in Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), shared her success story and practical recommendations on how to take the first steps in the industry and how to start a career successfully. Natalia advised young specialists and students to try to find a mentor – a person who will help to develop useful skills and who will share vast experience.
The presentation on outstanding achievements of women in the nuclear was delivered by the students of the Institute of International Relations – Milana Ozerina and Anastasia Salnikova.

As a result of the event, the participants noted the positive atmosphere, informativity, relevance, and most importantly, the demand for information received and the importance of organizing the similar events in the future.
For further information please visit the NRNU MEPhI page.