Andrea Leadsom: Nuclear industry must address gender imbalance

It is imperative for the nuclear industry to address gender imbalance. Speaking at the Women in Nuclear conference in London, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said the issue has a “deep, […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

It is imperative for the nuclear industry to address gender imbalance.

Speaking at the Women in Nuclear conference in London, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said the issue has a “deep, personal resonance” having worked in a number of male-dominated sectors.

She added: “I want the nuclear industry to be a launch pad for the next generation of world changing women pioneers, I want the nuclear industry to provide strong female role models, strong female leaders and a strong female presence in the sector’s workforce.”

Ms Leadsom believes a nuclear industry that is not attractive to women risks losing the “best talent to competitors”.

She added: “The fact remains that companies with a gender balance perform better because diversity brings together varied perspectives. Simply put, the nuclear sector cannot reach its full potential without maximising all available talents.”

She said the sector should take advantage of the transition towards a low carbon economy as it represents a fresh opportunity for the industry to embrace gender equality.

Furthermore, the nuclear industry must encourage more girls into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects as only one woman in every seven men works in science.

Ms Leadsom went on: “We must continue to break the perception that STEM subjects are just for boys and encourage more girls to take up these subjects.

“We need businesses to step up their game. We need to see more females in adverts that send a clear message that women are not only welcome but will be given the same opportunities as men and we need to hear from more female scientists about the work they do. We need to roll out a different set of role models so that girls and women know that science and the nuclear sector are areas which they can work in, successfully and equally.”