Los Alamos National Laboratory commits to advancing gender equality in nuclear policy

Los Alamos first national lab to join Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy

November 20, 2019

Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 20, 2019—Los Alamos National Laboratory is the first national lab to join Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy who are committed to breaking down gender barriers and making gender equality a reality in their spheres of influence.

“Nuclear policy, like many technological fields, has long been a male-dominated space,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “As a result, women in the field have too often been marginalized. In joining Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, the Laboratory is committing to actively working to bring more women into the field, amplify their voices and foster a culture of respect. We’re proud to be a part of this network and look forward to seeing the positive changes that result.”

In joining GCNP, Los Alamos committed to three key actions: 

  • To foster an organizational culture of inclusivity and mutual respect
  • To increase our focus on bias awareness and mitigation in recruiting, retention and promotion activities
  • To champion gender balance in nuclear policy expert forums

Los Alamos also commits to the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy’s “panel parity pledge,” which pledges to avoid appearing on single-gender panels whenever possible.

Los Alamos National Laboratory employs roughly 12,000 people, about a third of whom are women. Approximately 32 percent of the Laboratory’s senior leadership are women. In addition, 23 percent of its research/technical managers and 22 percent of its technical research staff are women.

These percentages are consistent with industry trends in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, but Mason notes that they are not good enough. “Research shows us time and again that the more diverse a team is, the better it performs,” he said. “Los Alamos is home to talented, inspiring women who serve as ambassadors for their fields, and we are committed to growing the number of women and other underrepresented groups in all parts of the Laboratory. One way we’re doing that is through local outreach and education programs that expose girls and young women to STEM careers and foster their ambitions. This helps create a pipeline of technical staff that we hope will be the future face of the Laboratory.”

Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy include presidents, directors and other institutional heads of organizations whose agendas and/or members address nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear weapons policy, nuclear disarmament, nuclear security, nuclear deterrence, nuclear energy and other related topics. It was designed to augment and complement decades of accomplishment in building networks, skills, mentorship, visibility, voice and community among women working in the nuclear policy field by adding commitment at the leadership level of the nuclear policy sector.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.