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May Webinar on Gender Equality & Reduced Inequalities with Prof. Rosalind Archer & Kayla Williams

The THRIVE project would like to extend our warm gratitude to Professor Rosalind Archer and Ms. Kayla Williams for being guest presenters at our May Thrivability Matters webinar. The theme of this webinar was United Nations SDG 5 Gender Equality and SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities.

About Our Speakers

Rosalind Archer holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford University. After a long career at the University of Auckland, she recently moved to Australia where she is now a Professor, and Head of the School of Engineering and Built Environment, at Griffith University. She has a diverse range of interests in the energy sector. In Auckland, she was the Director of the University of Auckland’s Geothermal Institute.

Kayla is the Culture & Diversity Lead at Marine Plastic Solutions. She is a New Colombo Plan Scholarship Alumnus and holds a B.A. in Communications, a B.A. in International Studies, and a Master in Cultural Studies. Kayla has 8 years of experience working across a range of environmental waste projects with her focus being on areas such as gender, community engagement, and social inclusion. 

Summary of the Webinar

PROF. ROSALIND ARCHER ON GEOTHERMAL ENERGY TO EMPOWER WOMEN & COMMUNITIES

Rosalind began her presentation with an introduction to Geothermal Energy – what it is, how energy is extracted, its uses, and the geographical regions where Geothermal Energy is produced.

Rosalind then highlighted the WINGS (Women in Geothermal) movement, whose mission is to promote the education, professional development, and advancement of women in the geothermal community. Founded in 2013, it is now the largest professional geothermal organisation (in terms of membership) in the world.

There is also an exciting aspect of WINGS called the WINGman Special Taskforce. This task force aims to eliminate gender stereotypes by encouraging men to be role models, champions, and advocates of gender equality.

Rosalind went on to share global case studies of WINGS in action, Firstly, La Geo, the national geothermal energy company in EL Salvador. La Geo has a 30% female workforce. They also consider how geothermal energy impacts local communities, employ women in the community, and wildlife protection in their operations.

Secondly, Rosalind spoke about Kenya, where she noted that the higher HDI the higher the energy consumption per head. In Kenya, Oserian Roses, uses spare geothermal fluid to heat greenhouses that grow some of the best roses in the world and create a huge opportunity to employ women in their workforce.

Rosalind also highlighted Iceland, where a documentary Full Steam Ahead was produced looking at women in the geothermal industry in Iceland, Kenya, Ethiopia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the USA.

She concluded with Indonesia, where coffee producers in the mountainous regions of Indonesia are getting assistance from geothermal companies to help them grow, roast, and find global buyers for the beans.

In addition, the New Zealand Mentoring program supports women through assistance in entering the industry, mentorship within, and moving into leadership roles.

KAYLA WILLIAMS ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES(SIDS) WOMEN IN THE WASTE SECTOR

Kayla began her presentation on Women in Waste by giving a background on Marine Plastic Solutions, the consulting company she works with. They provide strategy and policy, technical services, research, data analytics, and education and training while focussing on equality.

Kayla then illustrated where small island developing states are located, and some of the key challenges that SIDS women face – socio-cultural factors, lack of opportunities, and policy and legislation.

Kayla went on to speak about some of the key highlights of the consulting programs that she had worked on. For example, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Strongim Bisin’s Programme in the Solomon Islands. The project identified issues with proximity to home, plethora, a lack of coherence between activities, and challenges with informal waste work.

The second project she touched on was World Bank PRO BLUE Marine Plastics Debris Deep Dive Study for the Eastern Caribbean. Findings here included the lack of education & training, barriers in business, and inadequate legislation as challenges to equality.

She concluded with the Vanuatu Government’s plastic strategy. It maintained that having a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a human right, and elicited mixed reviews on certain topics by both men and women

CONCLUSION

To summarise the above points, both Prof Rosalind and Kayla highlighted that Continuous assessment of current situations is key to understanding the current issues. Each geographical location is different and approaches and recommendations should be tailored accordingly. There is a lot of work being done on these projects that will yield massive impacts.

If you missed out on the presentations or the live Q&A session, you can view the recording on our YouTube channel once it’s released.

Make sure to register for June’s webinar on Clean Water and Sanitation. For details, click here.

Thanks, and do keep on thriving!