Speakers inspire Women in Water campaign
Delegates to the second Women in Water conference organised by British Water have embraced the trade association's campaign to support women in the industry.
The event took place at MWH Treatment’s Manchester headquarters on 16 October and speakers shared their career stories along with offering expert advice from direct experience.
British Water chief executive Lila Thompson said: “One of the important things about Women in Water is that it’s not just an event, it’s now a campaign, and we’re building our resources and incorporating other organisations’ actions and events. We’ve already had some excellent feedback from delegates that will help determine our next steps as we build on this important initiative.”
In the spirit of collaboration, Angie Needle (pictured), founder of the Women’s Utility Network, delivered a keynote on empowerment. Setting out the current gender imbalance in stark terms she said only 20% of the half-million people working in the utilities are women; only 23% of those in leadership positions in the water industry are women and only 1% of those in skilled trades.
“I’m absolutely in it for equality,” Needle said. “We need more women because there’s masses of research that says that more women adds to better diversity, which adds to better productivity, which adds to better growth and creates a better company.”
Sharing her own career experience, Needle advised those moving up the ladder to “Go for things you don’t think you can do – the whole point is you’re learning.”
MWH Treatment human resources director Hilary Tew had practical advice for companies wishing to recruit and retain female employees. She said: “We asked whether our benefits are inclusive. We now offer an extra five days holidays you can buy. It’s not just about women, men can share the benefits. If we can help with their family life, it’s a win-win.”
She also had advice for women managing negative comments and sexist “microaggressions” in the workplace: “Be calm, face the reality and address the matter directly with the person giving those comments,” she said. “If it doesn’t get any better, you have to report it.”
For the first time the 2020 Water Industry Awards will feature a Women in Water category. This award will recognise an initiative that helps to redress the balance and encourage more women to work in water. Organised by Water and Wastewater Treatment (WWT) the event celebrates and rewards outstanding achievement and innovation in the UK water industry. It is taking place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 20 May 2020. For further information visit https://waterindustryawards.co.uk/
- South East Water partners with Women's Utilities Network South East Water has become the first water company to sponsor the Women's Utilities Network (WUN). Read More >
- Last chance to enter Water Industry Awards You have until midnight tonight to complete your entries for the Water Industry Awards 2020! Read More >
- British Water welcomes supply chain report British Water has welcomed a report from Energy & Utility Skills and Balfour Beatty which calls for the water industry to... Read More >
- Delivering essential learning in a digital landscape As onsite training takes a back seat due to Covid-19, digital sessions are proving to be an effective alternative with... Read More >
- Skills gap fundamentals remain undiminished by Covid-19 Sue Caccavone, technical director of BV Academy - Black & Veatch argues that the need for utility skills development is... Read More >
- Association offers help sourcing PPE for water workers With the global demand for protective clothing likely to continue to impact the water industry, there should be no... Read More >
- Getting on in your health and safety career Health and safety leaders offer professional development tips for those aspiring to a career which put care for colleagues... Read More >
- Reaching net carbon zero In summer 2019, the water industry committed to reach net carbon zero by 2030. This is a very ambitious aim and... Read More >