|Women in Nuclear: Engaging Pro-actively with the Public|
|Agneta Rising & Annick Carnino|
The foundation of Women in Nuclear (WIN) took place in the Czech Republic in January 1993. WIN meetings and the WIN membership open a door for communicating nuclear facts in their own countries. Now, with the 9th WIN Meeting in May 2001 in Korea, we have bridged the communication gap between East and West and between women working in nuclear and women interested in nuclear!
Better understanding of the benefits of nuclear science and technology can be gained through more awareness of how nuclear activities are contributing to our daily lives: how it helps improve health in medical use; how it helps in agriculture by avoiding deterioration of food products or improving seed quality; and how it provides safe electricity, heating or potable water to our houses.
From the first meeting in 1993, WIN has grown from 145 to more than 2000 members in 56 countries!
The 9th WIN Meeting in Seoul, Korea in May 2001, opened the door to communicating nuclear issues through those who have a major role in the family and a supporting role in the social, educational or working environment. The support from women interested in nuclear, especially in their role as mothers, teachers or professionals in areas related to nuclear, is of crucial importance.
During this year the President of WIN has had the opportunity to meet with very active national WIN groups, such as WIN Spain, US, France and Korea. Conferences/exhibits have been organized by professional women in France, Spain and at the Texas A&M University, USA on many topics, such as: food irradiation; ‘Nuclear Techniques & Art’; ‘Astrophysics: Stars & Galaxies’; ‘Environment: Climate Change’; ‘A Woman and Nuclear Safety’; ‘Two Women and Waste Management’; ‘Women & Science’; ‘Women in Discovery: Celebrating The Legacy of Marie Curie’; ‘Life and Radioactivity’; and ‘Health: Nuclear Medicine’. This is only a small sample of the activities that WIN members have performed nationally. All WIN members, women and men, are really proactive.
The network of women and men working or interested in nuclear is important at national and global level to bring to the public attention factual information and an understanding of the benefits of nuclear energy and applications to mankind. The nuclear community is already achieving the goal of maintaining excellence in safety, economics and reliability.
Women remain under-represented in scientific and technological occupations. Root causes of this under-representation are difficult to find due to the fact that they differ from country to country, but among the causes are a combination of cultural conditioning, parental influence, teacher and counsellor advice and social traditions governing career openings. The qualities of professional women usually include the following: a good mindset for organization; a reliable and direct way of expressing themselves when things go wrong; good team work; good relationships with other colleagues; and good management skills.
Although in some countries the representation of women in nuclear is significant, in the nuclear industry as a whole, women’s involvement is still very limited. In order to change the image of our industry in the public mind, we must have more women scientists with the necessary and recognized background on the front line of communication!
The role of WIN will be crucial in the coming years in public information, in attracting the younger generation to join and keep the nuclear option alive, and in providing role models for young and prospective team leaders!
Nuclear power seems to be approaching a revival in some countries. It is time for the whole nuclear community, and specially WIN members, to speak up for the industry.
WIN is proud to be the first affiliate Member of WNA, and will contribute to WNA’s objective "to speak pro-actively on behalf of the nuclear industry amongst policy makers, opinion leaders, the media and the public."
© copyright The World Nuclear Association 2001