VIENNA, MARCH, 12 – The IAEA launched a fellowship programme to provide an incentive for young women to consider a career in nuclear science and technology: named after twice Nobel Prize winner, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme aims to increase the number of women studying in nuclear science and technology and non-proliferation studies through scholarships and work experience opportunities.
The initiative was presented by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi: ”Women are still far from being adequately represented in the nuclear field, and this is unacceptable – Grossi said – Nuclear science and technology help countries to combat many of today’s challenges so the demand for qualified professionals is high and will continue to grow”.
The following countries expressed their support: Belgium, Canada, China, France, Japan, Kuwait, Morocco, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. The G77 group of countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union, the Texas A&M system, Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens have also expressed their support to the fellowship programme.
During the event, Marie Skłodowska-Curie’s granddaughter, nuclear physicist Hélène Langevin-Joliot, sent a video message in support of the initiative. ”Marie Skłodowska-Curie was deeply convinced of the equal capacities of women and men in science. […] She would have certainly hoped for much more rapid progress of the women’s place in science”, she said.
Argentine nuclear physicist and Latin American winner of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science Karen Hallberg reminded the audience that, according to UNESCO, only 30 per cent of the world’s scientific researchers are women. She talked about gender-based prejudice and scientific evidence debunking the myths around brain and gender. ”The brain is not more gendered than the heart, kidneys or liver”.
The IAEA will provide scholarships for up to two years for women pursuing a graduate degree in nuclear science and technology or non-proliferation studies. Fellows will also have the opportunity to pursue internships at the IAEA.