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Slovenia supports efforts to achieve gender parity throughout the IAEA Secretariat

Statement by Ambassador Andrej Benedejčič, Permanent Representative and Governor from Slovenia, at the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, on the Women in the Secretariat (Agenda item 8b), Vienna, 13 September 2017

Mr. Chairperson,

Slovenia supports the statement delivered by the Ambassador of Mexico on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear.  In addition, in my national capacity, I would like to thank the Director General for taking an active part in the launch of the Vienna Chapter of the International Gender Champions in June.  I would also like to commend him for signing the panel parity pledge and making concrete commitments to advance the Agency's work on gender issues.  This kind of leadership is crucial in overcoming persistent stereotypes and lingering glass ceilings.

I would also like to express the satisfaction of my delegation with the figures in the Director General's report.  We are especially impressed by the fact that the Agency has managed to increase the percentage of women in professional and higher categories to an all-time high.  We are also heartened by an increase not only in the proportion of female candidates, but also in their quality.  This represents a good omen for the future.  We would therefore like to commend the Agency for its activities, especially those that are aimed at raising awareness of career options in the STEM disciplines.  In this sense we also believe that it would be useful if the Director General could also talk about gender in the Agency when travelling internationally.

Mr. Chairperson,

One of the practical initiatives considered recently at the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear was also to contribute suggestions on practical initiatives taken in national contexts. 

I would therefore like to inform the Board that women currently represent 38% of staff in the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration.  I would also like to note that four out of five of the most recent new employees there were women.  In a similar vein, women are well represented at the Krško NPP, also as reactor operators.  Moreover, let me mention that the Slovenian Nuclear Society hosts the so-called Alpha Section, which despite its name actually brings together female members of the Society with a view to organize and promote further involvement of women in the nuclear field.  The section is also linked to the Women in Nuclear Global, the world-wide association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications.

Mr. Chairperson,

My delegation is fully aware of the fact that there are still many challenges on the path to achieving the ultimate goal of gender parity throughout the Secretariat.  I would therefore like to encourage the Director General to continue with his efforts, also by monitoring and reviewing the Agency's rules and arrangements related to work-life balance.  In this connection, I would like to assure him of Slovenia's continuous support in this important quest.  

With this, my delegation takes note of the report on Women in the Secretariat.

Thank you.