Gender equality expert Nadia Nagamootoo told local businesses that men need support to create a fair and inclusive workplace.

She as speaking at the first birthday celebrations of the Women in Nuclear (WiN) Cumbria group.

More than 150 people from 30 businesses across the county gathered at Energus, Lillyhall to mark the occasion on International Women's Day.

They celebrated the branch's achievements and discussed what still needs to be done to progress gender balance in the nuclear sector.

Speakers also included Paul Howarth from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Rebecca Weston from Sellafield Ltd.

Claire Gallery-Strong, chair of WiN Cumbria, said: “This wasn’t just a celebration and a pat on the back, it was a way for us to move the conversation to the next level and see what we can do next to make real changes to gender inequality.

“Our guest speaker, Nadia, provided the ‘penny drop’ moment of the day when she told us that society doesn’t allow men to break free of their stereotypical breadwinner role, which in turn impacts on a woman’s choices too.

“This really hit home with our audience as we understand men have an important part to play in creating the change.

“Nadia’s findings are based on strong research, so it is something WiN Cumbria is going to take forward, to see how we can help address some of the issues facing men in Cumbria, like flexible working and unconscious bias, for example.

“We look forward to continuing our mission to create an inclusive and fair environment that helps attract, retain and build a diverse workforce of the future, for Cumbria and the UK.

“I urge anyone, male or female, with an interest in helping to drive gender balance in the area, to join us.”

Recognising the unique contribution that the Cumbria makes to the nuclear sector, Women in Nuclear (WiN) UK launched the dedicated Cumbria branch last year.

Since its launch, the WiN Cumbria network has become a powerful community of local organisations and individuals working together to achieve gender diversity within the Cumbrian workforce.

The team is also nominated for a Northern Power Women award, which will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on March 18.