To increase the number of women working in HVACR, a new initiative has been launched called the International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC).
It will promote career opportunities, and increase overall participation in the sector, which includes refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heat pumps (RACHP).
INWIC is led by the World Refrigeration Day (WRD) secretariat and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction.
They have partnered with groups around the globe including the Australian Institute of Refrigeration and Heating, and industry bodies in Europe, China, Latin America, India, Japan, Africa and North America.
Although women make up half of the world’s population, they are significantly and visibly under-represented in HVACR.
INWIC seeks to reverse that trend by promoting women’s engagement in HVACR.
However, more cooperation and information exchange at the global level is needed to link these individual efforts and make them even more meaningful and impactful, especially in developing countries.
There are over 300 national, regional, and international associations, organisations, and institutions in the HVACR sector, however initial research indicates that fewer than women hold only five per cent of these positions.
WRD secretariat head, Stephen Gill, said there are not enough visible women in this sector.
“’You can't be what you can't see!” he said.
“We will create a resource for girls and young women to see bite-size videos and read real-life stories from a diverse range of women in different roles within the cooling sector.
“This will also serve to connect and inspire women currently working in the cooling sector.”
INWIC will connect women in this predominantly male sector, empowering them to succeed through networking opportunities, mentoring and education.
It will also offer an opportunity to individual women, especially from developing countries, to get access to experiences and career development opportunities in the field that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
Head of UNEP OzonAction, James Curlin, said the cooling sector is critical for achieving environmental objectives including the continued success of the Montreal Protocol and for addressing climate change.
“If they are to meet their compliance obligations, countries need a strong, vibrant, and inclusive cooling sector,” Curlin said.
“Women represent a tremendous, largely untapped source of innovation and skills for this sector, and they need to be actively engaged if we are to solve the great environmental challenges of our time. INWIC seeks to do just that.”
In the next few months, INWIC founding partners will introduce several programs that directly support individual women and young girls to further engage and find opportunities that can support the advancement of their careers.