The Institute of Water celebrates Women in Water

Lynn Cooper

The Institute of Water has been running a high profile awareness campaign about the roles woman have in the water industry.

The institute – the only national professional body that exclusively supports the careers of anyone in the water industry – is celebrating the major strides made in equal opportunities for women in the water industry.

To mark International Women’s Day, on Sunday 8 March 2015, Lanes Group asked Institute of Water Chief Executive Lynn Cooper why she championed the awareness campaign, and why women should see the water industry as a great place to work and to build a career.

 

Why did you start this campaign?

To celebrate how much progress has been made in the water industry since I joined in 1983: I now believe gender isn’t an issue or a barrier to success.

What’s your main message in the campaign?

Diversity (not just gender diversity) is good because it brings fresh ideas, and challenges the way we do things.

Are there specific skills and insights that women can bring to the industry?

That suggests all women are the same! Women are said to be better organised than me and able to multi task, but I wouldn’t want to stereotype either gender.

What’s been the reaction to the campaign externally, and internally?

Amazing – we had a great response from all the people we invited to contribute and it has drawn favourable comments from members and some high-profile women groups

 

What has made some women reluctant about looking to do some jobs in the water industry?

Historical stereotyping.

 

What perception of the water industry would you like women to have, in terms of a place to work and build a career?

It is a great place to work and build a career for anyone who wants to help provide a vital public service – this applies equally to men, women, boys and girls.

 

Have you noticed a shift in perception about women working in the water industry in recent years?

Definitely – they are no longer unusual in management or operational roles.

 

What do you think is making a difference?

Having women in senior roles gives a signal there are equal opportunities.

 

What more could employers, educators and government do to help accelerate change?

I’m not sure there is a need to accelerate the change – it seems to be happening already.

What more will the Water Institute be doing to encourage change?

Continue to recognise and promote (through our journal, website and social media) achievements of female members.

What’s your best advice to women / female school leavers who are looking to a career in the water industry?

Go for it and don’t even think about your gender: be yourself.

 

Where would you like the water industry to be in, say, 5 years’ time in terms of job and career opportunities for women?

I believe we are close to equal opportunities now and see no reason why we won’t be there in 5 years’ time.

 

Web home page

https://www.instituteofwater.org.uk

 

Article about Women in Water

https://www.instituteofwater.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/IWO183-WIW-3.pdf

 

International Women’s Day

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

 

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