I’m proud to be a woman working on WMD issues. Several of my early mentors in the field were women, and I’ve been fortunate to see several close female peers and colleagues rise through the ranks in their organizations. Today, I’m proud to work at an organization with an exceptional ratio of women to men (2:1) under the leadership of President Joan Rohlfing and Executive Vice President Deborah Rosenblum. But I know that NTI is unusual in the field, and I know that women in leadership positions wasn’t always the norm. As one woman at yesterday’s event put it, “When I started out in this sector over 25 years ago, I’d be the only woman among 30 people in a room.” She and many others worked for decades to ensure that women have a voice on these issues.
For all of these reasons and more, I was excited to attend the Women in Mass Destruction side event at the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. The event was organized by Heather Williams (King’s College London), Alexandra Bell (Council for a Livable World), and Chantal de Jonge Oudraat (Women in International Security), and it brought together women (and men!) with varying levels of experience and diverse roles in the sector to share their stories and perspectives, and to come up with recommendations on how to continue advancing the role of women in WMD.