Professional Development of Women in Atomic Energy


Nuclear energy is stereotyped as a purely male industry. The attractiveness of the specialty «nuclear energy» in higher education is low among girls who choose their future profession. There is also a stereotypical attitude of teachers to girls who have chosen this specialty and quite common are the phrases among teachers «girl, why do you need nuclear energy, you better look for a future husband among students». Then women face the same stereotypes (superiority, obscene jokes, etc.) in the workplace. As a result, only 18% of the management of NNEGC Energoatom are women. Although Energoatom is the leader among energy companies in the share of women among full-time employees 33.3%. However, there are still issues that need to be resolved. This includes the promotion of women, equal pay and career opportunities.



Generally speaking, Energoatom has been working on gender discrimination issue for a long time. For example, one of such steps was done in 2003. For the first time the Company’s Collective Agreement regarding the possibility for men to take childcare leave was amended. Then the issue of gender discrimination was put on hold. In 2019, Energoatom became one of companies that supported and signed The Declaration for Gender Equality and Prevention of Domestic Violence. The project was initiated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UK Government and the CSR Development Center. 

According to the signed declaration, NNEGC Energoatom has taken concrete actions. The Company’s employees underwent a series of trainings and webinars within the guidelines developed by the initiators of the Declaration for Large, Medium and Small Businesses in order to promote gender equality and prevent domestic violence. One of Energoatom employees and a participant in the trainings became the author of the document «Gender Policy of NNEGC Energoatom» adopted in 2020. In order not to make this document declarative, a joint partnership was initiated in order to further adhere to the principles of gender policy. 

Thus, in the spring of this year, a memorandum on cooperation with NGO Women in Nuclear Ukraine was signed and the project «Professional Development of Women in Atomic Energy» was launched. The memorandum provided for holding forums and seminars for the Company and for the nuclear power plants which operator is Energoatom. The first such event was a forum held on March 4 at the Energoatom Directorate. Petro Kotin, Head of NNEGC Energoatom, thanked and expressed deep respect for women working in the field of nuclear energy. The Head of the Company noted that he would do his best to promote gender equality policy in the area where there is an established stereotype – only men can work at nuclear power plants or hold leading positions in this field. He also congratulated the women nuclear workers, noting their high professionalism and special sense of responsibility. The event was attended by more than 50 women representatives of NNEGC and guests from WiN Ukraine. In addition to the Company’s employees and guests, the event was attended by gender policy ambassadors of NNEGC Energoatom, who made a speech in support of the new project «Professional Development of Women in Atomic Energy». 

At the same time, separately from Energoatom the primary trade union organization «Atomprofspilka», launched its project «Gender in Trade Unions» together with the NGO «Labor and Health Social Initiatives» with the support of USAID. 

Since all parties had the same goals, it was decided to join forces. As a result, in the autumn of 2021, 4 seminars-forums were held for women workers of nuclear power plants Khmelnytsky, Rivne, Zaporizhia and South-Ukraine. In the first part of the seminar-forum the female speakers from various organizations spoke about stories of their success. Energoatom had its own ambassadors for gender policy at each NPP site, who supported gender mainstreaming. In the second part, a coach conducted a workshop on women’s leadership with the participants.

As for the obstacles, first of all it was difficult to convey to those responsible for the implementation at the NPP sites why such a project should be implemented. And during the implementation to «stir up» the participants and bring them to dialogue, help them to open up and show their voice, their emotions, share their stories. The participants were very emotional and initially perceived the event as something obligatory, not for their benefit.

The implementation of the project took a total of 9 months (negotiations, documentation, implementation, summarizing). The costs of the project were shared between all parties involved. NNEGC «Energoatom» covered the costs of transportation, meals and accommodation of the organizers, the provision of premises for events and meals for participants (welcome coffee, lunch and buffet). Under the terms of the agreement, the amounts of expenses are not disclosed by the parties.



NNEGC «Energoatom» aimed to demonstrate what gender policy is in action. The event had a positive effect, as the organizers analyzed the feedback received from the participants. The completed questionnaires indicate 100% satisfaction with participation in the events. In addition, the participants thanked the organizers during breaks and informal communication and noted that now they really feel that the Company cares about them. No less important feedback from the participants were the phrases «I became more confident», «I believe in myself», «finally the question has moved from the deadlock» and so on. It is also worth noting that the organizers talked separately with the leaders of the NPP, who as a result of the measures are aimed at changing and not blocking the activities of working groups. After the seminar forums, active participants of the event and ambassadors of gender policy formed working groups at the NPP sites. Thus as a result:

150 active participants;

15 ambassadors of gender policy of NNEGC Energoatom;

4 working groups aimed at adherence to gender principles and prevention of gender discrimination in the workplace at Energoatom;

the project was implemented in partnership with the NGO «WiN Ukraine», Atomprofspilka, NGO «LHSI».


The goals and tasks to be solved by the working groups, as well as further work in the direction of gender equality in nuclear energy, are planned to be enshrined in a joint decision between NNEGC «Energoatom» and the Atomprofspilka. Currently, LHSI experts conduct a series of trainings / webinars for members of the working groups on legislation on gender equality, gender stereotypes, gender specifics, formation of gender committees, etc. As the plans of the working groups to carry out information work in teams at the NPP sites and provide proposals for a new section «Gender Policy» in the Collective Agreement of NNEGC «Energoatom».


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