The global community relies on national nuclear regulatory authorities around the world to effectively implement the world’s nuclear nonproliferation legal instruments and standards, including: The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols, and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). Evidently, national nuclear regulatory authorities play a critical role in implementing the international nuclear security legal infrastructure.
Meanwhile, women are frequently underrepresented in international forums on peace and security, including nuclear security. For instance, at the NPT Review Conference in 2015, 901 of the 1226 registered diplomats were men (73.5%) and 325 were women (26.5%). Closing this gap has been an important objective of the United Nations and the IAEA. In 2000, for example, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which stresses the importance of ‘equal opportunities for the representation of women in all decision-making processes with regards to matters related to disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control’. Similarly, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has stated that he would like to achieve gender parity at the most senior level of Agency staff by 2021.
Given the significance of the regulator’s role in the nonproliferation regime and recent research showing the benefit gained from embracing gender perspectives in peace and security, understanding the number of women in leadership positions in existing national nuclear regulatory institutions will help identify any gaps and areas for human resource development. This cross-cutting knowledge can help target efforts to increase women’s representation and effective participation at the national level and in the larger international nuclear nonproliferation regime, which can lead to improved nuclear security.
This paper will map gender diversity in the leadership among the national nuclear regulatory authorities as identified by the IAEA around the world. The study will begin by conducting literature reviews on the value of women’s representation and participation in peace and security discussions and decision-making processes and the typical role of a national nuclear regulatory authority as an implementer of the nuclear security regime. Next, the paper will share and analyze data collected by the author on the number of women acting as the person in charge of each national nuclear regulatory authority worldwide. This data will be collected by reviewing the staff and personnel pages in the websites of national regulatory authorities identified by the IAEA and counting the number of women in charge of an authority. If needed, this data will also be collected by conducting outreach with the regulatory authorities directly.
In addition, this study will also present information on how nuclear regulatory authorities around the world approach and practice gender diversity within their institutions. In a similar fashion, this information will be gathered by reviewing the websites of the regulatory authorities for information on gender diversity in their Mission Statements, Core Values, and Best Practices. The author will also conduct outreach via an email survey with a geographically diverse set of 10-15 regulatory authorities on their institutional approaches and practices to gender diversity. In conclusion, this study will present 2-3 recommendations on ways in which national nuclear regulatory authorities can increase women’s representation and effective participation in implementing the international nuclear security legal infrastructure.