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Gender + Radiation Impact Project



Mary Olson


Asheville, NC


Gender + Radiation Impact Project


In 2011, Mary Olson of Nuclear Information and Resource Service published an independent analysis of a National Academy of Sciences report which found women suffer greater harm from radiation exposure than men. The same year, the World Health Organization published a major report on the impact of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, which also found that girls will be disproportionately harmed by radiation. 

Foundational work had been done by Dr Arjun Makhijani and team at Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Olson’s analysis was independent and confirms the IEER findings. Both organizations have identified the use of “Reference Man” by US regulators as the basis for all radiation safety limits to be inadequate and rooted in ignorance of our species life-cycle. 

These critical yet under-reported findings led to the creation of the Gender and Radiation Impact Project, a 501(c)3 educational and funding nonprofit that works at the intersection of public health, medicine, and public policy. We are an educational and funding group that brings together top thinkers to understand the role biological sex plays in harm from radiation, as well as moving ahead towards protection for the entire human life-cycle. For more resources on this issue, see their website.


Gender and Radiation Impact Project has teamed with Beyond Nuclear to offer on-line classes which are informal (no academic credit) opportunities for people in impacted communities, students, members of the media--anyone--to learn more about radiation from outside the industry / government perspective. The short-courses are offered as a series where participants can register for one or more, usually in the Fall.  The short-course offerings in 2022 have yielded so many opportunities for collaborative work, that we are taking a pause in teaching to engage with new projects.


GRIP founder Mary Olson has had a role in educating the national delegations at the United Nations since 1998, and since 2011, about the disproportionate impact of radiation on female bodies compared to males. 

She was honored to be one of 14 speakers briefing the States Parties to the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna Austria in June 2022, in preparation for their first meeting. Olson also achieved publication of a paper on these findings in a peer-reviewed journal in 2019, available here:


Gender and Radiation Impact Project primarily exists to educate about the disproportionate impact of ionizing radiation, and how this changes everything. 

Any organization working on radiation-related impacts, policies or engaged in regulatory processes could benefit from our resources--there are girls and women in every community. In addition, GRIP is in a network that includes a lot of experience--so we are often able to connect resources in beneficial ways. 

Finally, GRIP founder Mary Olson is very open to exploring collaborative funding most especially to focus on expanding the funding base for everyone by bringing new individual funders and smaller foundations to support nuclear work. Donors in the Southeast region of the USA are, for the most part, untapped.

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