International Women's Day 2016

For over a century, International Women’s Day has been observed on 8 March every year and serves as a reminder that many women around the world continue to be denied equal treatment and equal representation.

UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

As a security-related organization with a strong technical focus, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is active in traditionally male-dominated fields. While the CTBTO has yet to reach the aspired 50 per cent female representation across all staff levels, there has been slow but steady progress over recent years towards that goal. The CTBTO has now reached female representation of 43 per cent overall, and 35 per cent in the professional and higher positions.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo highlighted women's contribution to the nuclear test-ban: "Women were and are the driving force behind the ban on nuclear testing. The civil society movements that pushed for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 and its predecessors were to a large extent grounded in women’s initiatives. We can never forget Dr. Louise Reiss, the scientist who helped to convince President John F. Kennedy to conclude the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty through her ground-breaking Baby Tooth Study." ( full statement - PDF )

Dr. Louise Reiss (1920 - 2011) initiated a study that examined baby teeth in the United States in the 1950s-60s, which proved that radioactive fallout from nuclear testing had entered the food chain. Children who donated their baby teeth received this badge. Click for obituary in the NYT.

I am particularly proud of the women working at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). They brave the elements in the world’s remotest corners to build and maintain our monitoring stations, they work long hours to screen vast amounts of data for suspicious events, and they develop new methods of analysis and management practices. My sincere appreciation and thanks go to all of them, for without them we could not have become what we are today: the world’s centre of verification excellence.