Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative


Welcome to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ Online Resource for Young Women in Nonproliferation! This site features articles, learning tools, and resources for women who are interested in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It is maintained through CNS’ Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative and is part of a larger effort to expose more women at US colleges and universities to WMD-related issues and careers.

This website is a dynamic resource that changes regularly. It is not comprehensive but seeks instead to highlight diverse voices and perspectives on gender and nonproliferation. If you have suggestions about resources, tools, or opportunities for us to consider including, please email [email protected].

Did you know?

Despite making up roughly half the world’s population, women comprise only a small minority of professionals working in the field of WMD nonproliferation and disarmament. This gender gap cuts across industries and national borders.  In 2018, for example, women made up only 32.8% of workforce at the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). That same year, only 20% of national delegations at a meeting on the Non-Proliferation Treaty were headed by women.

This imbalance is unlikely to change without outside help. In 2017, we found that only 10% of undergraduate courses on WMD-related issues offered in the US had mostly female students, and only a quarter of these courses were taught by women.

This gender gap is problematic for many reasons.

First, diverse teams generate better outcomes than homogeneous teams. Without gender diversity, the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction become that much harder to address effectively.

Second, women are frequently characterized as victims, not agents, in the international security space. If this perception does not change, women will remain on the periphery of policy-making with respect to WMD-related issues.

Third, a nuclear detonation would affect women just as much as, and in different ways than, men. Women deserve an equal voice in decision-making about nuclear weapons.

What is CNS doing about this?

CNS launched its Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative in 2018 to bring WMD nonproliferation and disarmament issues to more women at US colleges and universities. By doing so, we hope to encourage young women to consider careers with this focus.  In addition to maintaining this online resource, CNS also conducts events at women’s colleges and matches undergraduate women who are interested in this field with mentors. If you or someone you know would like more information about this program, please email [email protected].