Advancing Women in Nuclear Fields Through Regional Engagements

Margarita Kalinina-Pohl - James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Shorena Lortkipanidze - Civil Council for Defense and Security, Black Sea Women in Nuclear Network
Olga Martin - Los Alamos National Laboratory
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This paper examines the importance of professional networks in promoting diversity and inclusion in nuclear fields by advancing women through regional engagements. Referencing the recently established Black Sea Women in Nuclear Network (BSWN) as a case study, the authors analyze the impact of this network on women professionals in the Black Sea region since its inception in 2021. BSWN was established with support from the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Security Women program, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (CNS/MIIS), and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the relatively short time since its inception, this network has become a hub of activities and opportunities for women from Black Sea countries, serving as a channel to share information and as a tool for professional development. It has also attracted various regional and international stakeholders to the Black Sea professional community of women in nuclear fields and highlighted their potential and expertise. The network is an example of how a multidisciplinary community of nuclear security and nonproliferation professionals with shared values and agenda can contribute to safety and security in the Black Sea region. The BSWN network is also a clearinghouse for credible and timely information about important regional security developments that may affect safety and security of nuclear and other materials and facilities. The paper concludes with lessons learned in establishing and sustaining such a network, and how it can serve as a model for future similar regional networks uniting women in nuclear fields.