On March 28 the BSWN conducted another round of the Black Sea Experts NucTalks, celebrating Women’s History Month. The talk focused on women’s leadership and featured four speakers, who shared challenges, achievements, and their own experiences.

The discussion that followed provided an opportunity to build on speakers’ remarks and address timely topics. BSWN was represented by Dr. Şebnem Udum, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Hacettepe University, who spoke about her experience as chair of the IAEA’s International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN), and by Alona Samsonenko, Leading Engineer at the George Kuzmych Training Center, Institute of Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, who described the training center’s activities.

Two invited speakers – Rhonda Evans, Head of Programme Development at the World Institute for Nuclear Security and Anton Gabriel Culea, Nuclear Operator at CNE Cernavoda, Romania, shared insights on how organizations can support female leadership. They pointed to the importance of organizational culture, talent management, and the development of leadership pathways to encourage women to enter the nuclear sector. The NucTalk was moderated by Dr. Valeriia Gergiieva, Visiting Fellow at the IFSH at the University of Hamburg and Research Fellow at the Odesa Center for Nonproliferation.

During the discussion, participants emphasized the need for continued discussions of equal rights and gender balance within the nuclear community, considering that few women in nuclear fields reach executive levels. Women only make up about 20-25% of the nuclear workforce, and are underrepresented in both nuclear security and the nuclear field in general. Therefore, organizations should prioritize understanding and tackling barriers women can face to joining and thriving in the field. One key instrument is to raise awareness of possibilities for professional development for women in nuclear fields. This would contribute to resolving one critical problem – that women are not aware of the fact that they, too, are welcome in the nuclear industry as the field cannot exclude half of its workforce.