By Christine Parthemore, CEO, The Council on Strategic Risks
The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) is excited to be part of Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, an initiative that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy who are committed to working towards gender equality in their spheres of influence.
The work of Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy (GCNP) could not be more important. We need diverse voices and experiences if we are to craft meaningful next steps in nuclear arms control and succeed in promoting strong norms in nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation. Unfortunately, this field of work is often unwelcoming to outright hostile to women. This must change.
As we work to contribute to this change, as part of the GCNP program CSR is committing to the following steps:
- Develop guidelines for hosts and moderators to encourage balanced participation and use of honorifics during panels and Q&A sessions.
- Actively promote inclusion of women experts when approached for quotes or interviews.
- Deliberately create/use multiple types of spaces for informal relationship building (i.e. not just bars), and ensure those spaces are open to all genders.
- Provide transparency to relevant stakeholders (board, staff, grantees, readers, etc.) about how the organization is doing in achieving its goals in inclusivity.
- Provide advance notice of meetings to enhance predictability and planning.
- Actively support telework and flextime options for staff.
- Avoid calling critical meetings during evenings, weekends, early mornings, and public holidays, which are difficult times for those who provide care for others to attend.
Many of these have been standard practices for CSR since its inception, as inclusivity was an important value for our founders and Board from Day One. In joining GCNP, I’m committing to our organization perpetuating its longstanding good practices. Our team will also take on several new measures, like tracking and reporting progress on our inclusivity goals, as we strive for continual progress. These commitments will make us a stronger organization and contribute to the high quality of our team’s work.
For my part, I will join other Gender Champions in refusing to speak on all-male panels. This act helps to drive deliberate conversations with event hosts on the importance of diversity. It can also help reshape the nuclear and national security fields at a time when we desperately need bold new ideas for how we work to reduce threats.
For the CSR team, participating in GCNP is also another step in our work to honor our founding Board member, Dr. Janne Nolan, who passed away last year. Janne was a brilliant and trailblazing nuclear expert, and mentor to countless young people seeking to work on nuclear issues. Through her mentorship I learned of the challenges she faced in this field, and how her tenacity and humor helped her remain so highly respected in the nuclear and broader national security communities. CSR named the Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons in her honor at the start of 2020, and we are working to grow it into a home that carries on her legacy in many ways—in particular in inspiring young women to work confidently in nuclear affairs.
My hope is that in participating in GCNP, we will contribute to the growing movement to draw more women and underrepresented groups into nuclear policy and national security—and keep them in the field. I’m grateful to the program’s founders and team for their leadership, and look forward to contributing to its success.