Women in Fusion launches global website22 July 2022
Women in Fusion (WiF), a global network which aims to achieve gender parity in fusion, improve diversity and increase the visibility of women’s contributions to fusion. has launched a website where everyone interested in WiF’s mission can join.
It is a collaborative effort driven by the founding partners IAEA, ITER, Fusion for Energy, General Atomics and EUROfusion and in the coming months it will appoint an Advisory Board and first WiF event in 2023.
Fusion holds the promise for a clean and sustainable future and will offer unlimited energy for generations to come. Although fusion for energy production has been around for more than 60 years, it is still in development. This generative phase offers an opportunity to create balanced gender participation, ensuring women provide knowledge and skills at all levels, including leadership roles.
The platform is a tool for highlighting and encouraging the role of women in the fusion field, providing networking, and developing the needed evidence to shape policies around gender equity in fusion. Initiated by a collaboration of founding members, WiF aims to collaborate with members and organizations around the world, inspire local Chapters, and ensure that women fusioneers around the world have a platform for support and community building.
Currently the participation of women in fusion energy mirrors the overall challenges of gender equity in STEM. Despite the strong participation of women studying STEM disciplines, when entering the professional arena women often face obstacles that block their path, leading to resignations from employment or plateauing in jobs below their levels.
Women in Fusion was established in 2021 after a successful webinar at the Fusion Energy Conference (FEC2020) where the main outcome was to create and launch a global network for women working in fusion science, research, engineering and operations.
The chair of WiF, Dr Sehila M. Gonzalez de Vicente, a senior expert in Fusion as Nuclear Fusion Physicist at IAEA, has been actively addressing the lack of gender parity in fusion for many years, leading webinars at the IAEA and speaking regularly about the topic.
“Women must play an active role in the development of new technologies to help society and to create the path that needs to be paved for women’s leadership. When women are involved, innovations and organizations are more successful, we know this already. Now let’s make it happen,” she said.
The first in-person meeting of the Women in Fusion Steering Committee took place at ITER in Cadarache, France, in May 2022, following more than a year of virtual meetings during the group’s initial planning phase. During the one-day meeting, committee members discussed the creation and public launch of the WiF website, development of research in gender equity for fusion, and key activities supporting the organization’s near-term objectives.