Managing editor Lauren Del Ciello discusses the rise of women in the water industry
At industry events, it is not uncommon for me to be one of only a handful of women in the room. While it is an honor to represent females in the water industry, that honor comes with a responsibility to advocate for the success and professional growth of other women.
In April, I attended the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Convention & Exposition for the first time. This year, the show featured the first-ever Women in Industry (WIN) networking event. At the event, attendees heard from Mary Lynn Fayoumi, president and CEO of HR Source, who shared some eye-opening facts with the group. Did you know women in the U.S. earn on average $11,000 less than men each year? On top of that, women still are more likely to face everyday microaggressions in the workplace.
After the networking event, I headed out to the trade show floor where I asked other women about their experiences as women in a largely male-dominated industry. In my conversations, I spoke to several women who felt they needed to work harder than their male counterparts to prove that they were as good or better at their jobs. However, I also spoke to women who told me a mentor helped foster their professional development and encouraged them to get to where they are today.
I believe that women in the water industry have a responsibility to stand together and lift each other up. We should not only encourage each other to grow as individuals, but also to improve the industry for women as a whole. In this spirit, WQA is launching a new WIN Mentoring Program and has created a WQA WIN LinkedIn Group for women and allies to connect with one another. I would encourage you to explore the online group to pursue discussions around these issues and cultivate connections.
As the water treatment industry continues to evolve, elevating the interests of women in the workforce will remain essential. What do you think? How can we, as an industry, encourage women to join the water sector, and not only that, but to thrive once they’ve arrived? If you have thoughts on this issue, send me an email at [email protected].