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December 18, 2018


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Stanley Foundation Joins New Network: Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy

MUSCATINE, IOWA (December 18, 2018) — The Stanley Foundation has joined Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, a new international initiative bringing together more than 30 organizations working in the global nuclear policy field and committed to gender equality.

Women comprise only a small portion of those working in the fields of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, according to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). CNS found that only one-third of the workforce at the US National Nuclear Security Administration are female, only 18 percent of the national delegations at a recent meeting on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were women-led, and only ten percent of undergraduate courses on issues related to weapons of mass destruction have mostly female students. Just a quarter of those classes are taught by women. And at two recent nuclear policy conferences, women represented just 15 percent of the participants. 

The Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy initiative aims to change that.

“It is heartening to be part of a group of organizations committed to breaking down gender barriers and improving gender equality in the nuclear policy field,” said Jennifer Smyser, vice president and director of policy programming strategy at the Stanley Foundation. “We applaud the others involved and look forward to the benefits our collective actions will bring.”

The leader of each organization taking part in the initiative will serve as Gender Champion. President Keith Porter will represent the Stanley Foundation. 

All Gender Champions signed on to the Panel Parity pledge, vowing to avoid appearing on single-gender panels whenever possible. Porter also personally signed on to three commitments that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound:

  • Create and adhere to a set of principles regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, including gender, in developing invitation lists for nuclear policy programming events, and ask partners to adhere to them as well for those events planned jointly.
  • Achieve an average of 45 percent women’s participation in nuclear policy programming events in 2019 and 50 percent by 2020.
  • Develop guidelines for roundtable chairs and other discussion leaders to encourage balanced participation and use of honorifics during nuclear policy programming events.

“The Stanley Foundation is honored to be part of Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy,” Porter said. “Beyond the fact that gender equality is just and right across all fields, I also believe diverse teams yield the best and most sustainable results. The Stanley Foundation is committed to breaking down barriers and making gender equality a reality in all our work.”

Nuclear Policy Program Officer Ben Loehrke will serve as a Focal Point for the initiative, helping to implement the foundation’s commitments and share progress, best practices, and encouragement with other participating organizations.

“To make progress on today’s global nuclear challenges, we must ensure that our colleagues can equally contribute their drive, knowledge, and skill to the policy discussion,” Loehrke said. “We are proud to play our part, joining more than 30 other leading organizations, by promoting gender balance in the foundation’s nuclear policy programming.” 

Luisa Kenausis, a recent MIT graduate who joined the Stanley Foundation this summer as Nuclear Policy Program Assistant, said the Gender Champions initiative is very important, “not just for the good of women working in the nuclear policy field, but for the good of the field itself.” 

“The challenges we face in nuclear policy are huge, complex, and long-term. Solving them will require new ideas and approaches from people with diverse points of view, and amplifying the voices and work of women in nuclear is such an important part of that,” Kenausis added.

In its nuclear policy programming, the Stanley Foundation works to halt the spread and avoid the use of nuclear weapons through efficient and effective governance solutions that manage or leverage disruptive technologies.

About The Stanley Foundation
The Stanley Foundation advances multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. The foundation's work is built on a belief that greater international cooperation will improve global governance and enhance global citizenship. The organization values its Midwestern roots and family heritage as well as its role as a nonpartisan, private operating foundation. The Stanley Foundation does not make grants. Online at

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