Excellent learning and peer-to-peer networking opportunities with a cross-section of the nuclear industry.
The world’s first certified professional development programme for individuals in nuclear security management.
An extensive archive of information on nuclear security, both from WINS and from external sources.
Helping licensees assess the maturity of their security programme and measure their security culture effectiveness.
In late June, in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, the WINS Academy awarded two scholarships to female Members who had not yet enrolled in the Academy. One of those recipients was Ms Jurgita Jarmalaviciute, who works as Chief Inspector in the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate’s Nuclear Material Control and Physical Security Division in Lithuania. She received a scholarship to become a Certified Nuclear Security Professional (CNSP).
In mid-August, she received her shipment of textbooks required to complete the Academy programme. The textbooks she received were among the first shipment of new textbooks printed by a new publisher.
Throughout Ms Jarmalaviciut’s career progression since joining the Inspectorate in 2002, she has dealt with topics such as trafficking, design basis threats and physical protection systems. We spoke with Ms Jarmalaviciut to better understand how the WINS Academy course can help enhance her career in the local context and to find out what advice she had for women in her sector.
“When I finish the chosen WINS Academy learning programme and become certified, I will be able to demonstrate my skills and ask my boss for more complex tasks in nuclear security.”
Why did you apply for a WINS Academy scholarship?
I have more than 15 years of experience in nuclear security, and currently, I am unable to grow further in my current position. Then I saw the possibility to apply for a scholarship with the WINS Academy learning programme. I believe that this is the best way to put all my comprehension and experience in one structured form. I have a long history of different trainings, self-education and work experience, and certification would be the best way to prove to myself and validate my qualification to my peers and boss. I see the WINS Academy as the best place to learn from the best instructors, to get the best various practises, make new friends and share nuclear security knowledge.
How do you think you will benefit most from your WINS Academy learning programme?
When I finish the chosen WINS Academy learning programme and become certified, I will be able to demonstrate my skills and ask my boss for more complex tasks in nuclear security. With the knowledge I will attain, I would also like to be able to apply for a lecturer position in national/regional/international training courses, workshops and more. I am eager to share all my knowledge and experience with other experts. In addition to this, I would also like to try to become a mission team member of IAEA IPPAS. Furthermore, I would like to become a mentor and role model for other women who wish to become professionals in the nuclear security field.
How has being a woman in the field affected your career?
As my background, I am a physicist, and in the last months of my master’s degree studies, I joined the national regulator. I was the first woman to receive an inspector position. At that moment, my boss said, “You’ve done nothing yet, but you’ve already made history”. This is how I started my career in nuclear security, with some challenges and encouragement. I needed to learn how to be equally confident as that of my male colleagues, which sometimes meant I had to put more effort into proving my qualifications. But in the end, I learned more and more, going beyond the requirements of my position. As a woman, I cannot rest on my laurels and need to maintain my confidence every day.
I feel as if I am not able to break the glass ceiling. As I mentioned, there are areas in which I’m quite competent, however it can be difficult to get into an area like physical protection.
What advice would you give for other women either entering or already working in the sector?
From both good and not so successful experiences, I would like to provide practical advice for my female colleagues. Make contacts, as many as you can. Communication between women is very important, not only in sharing professional information, but also in giving and receiving support. Use every opportunity to make presentations and to present not only a topic, but also yourself as a female expert. Maintain your curiosity, look for new opportunities to learn more and go beyond your job description. The best way is to ask as many questions as you can about things that interest you. And the last but not the least bit of advice, is that it is never too late to start and don’t ever get discouraged.
“Women tend to put more effort in and to gain as much knowledge as possible, raising standards in the field, and this would raise the level of nuclear security much higher than it is currently.”
What can be done to advance gender parity in your field, and how can gender parity enhance your field?
Because the system in Lithuania allows people to be locked into their positions in nuclear security, I think there should be a rotation perhaps every five years in the office and in working groups. Now, it is sometimes difficult to get one foot in the door. And how it is now, I do not have any chance to grow professionally. Having this rotation would allow for more women to get involved in different areas, and at least they will have a chance to try to change something. If you know you do not have a chance to change something, you will simply stop trying.
In my experience, as a woman, you are expected to already know things and discouraged to ask questions – the eagerness to share knowledge and information is not always present. With more women in the field, it would be easier to open the lines of communication and to make nuclear security a more open area. Women tend to put more effort in and to gain as much knowledge as possible, raising standards in the field, and this would raise the level of nuclear security much higher than it is currently.
We also need to train males in gender equality, as many simply don’t understand the importance of women in nuclear security, but it is their business as well and affects them.