IFAT Report - Women in Water Management
Sylvia Bommes, Host:
“IFAT is the world's leading trade fair for environmental technologies. This year it's not just about the shortage of skilled workers, it also wants to attract more women to water management professions, because there are far too few of them in the industry.
At the heart of IFAT is the future platform ”experience.science.future”, where, for example, universities are also presenting their current research projects - and Lotta is with the University of Duisburg-Essen. So why are you here at the trade fair?
Lotta Hohrenk, PhD student Water Analysis:
"I’m here as a PhD student with the research college ”FUTURE WATER” in order to conduct interdisciplinary research into water with various doctoral candidates.”
"I imagine that water management is more of a men's thing, where you sort of have to join in. As a woman, what made you do this subject?”
"I first studied environmental sciences and then water analysis - and I realized it was simply my thing, and I’m really happy about it.”
"Do you have any recommendations for women then? Why is the program so great?”
"Well, anyone who loves practical work, is happy to be in the lab, and is also interested in the natural sciences, will certainly find the courses fascinating.”
"Okay - good luck for the future! Thanks.
If you’re wondering what I’m doing here: I’m trying to climb down a shaft, because there might be a person down there who… uh, oh God... who needs to be rescued. This area at IFAT is where the trainees in wastewater technology put their talents to the test, and it also involves doing this – so down I go. Ciao!
Right, now I have to sit him up straight. Oh dear, he must have had a huge lunch. Goodness me! … oof… Okay guys, pull him up.
He's saved, I just saved someone!
"I climbed down the manhole just now, and that was really tough work. And for you I guess it’s an everyday thing - right?
Sophia Nerrether, Trainee, Wastewater Technology:
"No, luckily not, it's just that we always practice that, in training. We do it once a year – that’s when we’re taught all the theory and the practice, and then we do it again ourselves – we climb down. Actually, the work ought to be safe, and rescue operations like this one should be the exception.”
"And what do you think? Are more and more women entering the profession?”
"Since there’s the equality law, and we’re subject to it, people are looking to get more women excited about these jobs, especially because they can now be done – we have technology that is constantly improving, and it takes a lot of weight off you, and that’s why a lot of things have suddenly become options for women too.”
"What's fun about it? What’s the great thing?“
Denise Hahn, Apprentice Wastewater Technology:
"Just all the technology behind the wastewater treatment. You know: how the wastewater gets cleaned, and in which process steps, and how can it all be optimized? That's all very interesting.”
"Well, enjoy the rest of your training! And all the best!”
Sophia / Denise:
"Thank you very much.”
"Michaela Jilg is a master of wastewater, and here in the Future Forum “Waste-Water-Women”, she’s making a strong case for women in the water industry.
Michaela Jilg, Master of Wastewater:
"I run a wastewater treatment plant in Schwabach, which has a population of 95,000. I have 14 people under me. In water management it would be great if there were more women with responsible jobs. You always notice that a woman gives a “man’s world” a completely different feel to it. You notice it in seminars and forums - when a woman participates, the men behave very differently. It’s a very different climate, far better, and the men say so themselves actually. So it's very important that women have better access. And sometimes we have different points of view. It’s the mixture that does it!”
Sylvia Bommes: "Women in the water industry – we’ve seen that things are starting to really happen. More and more women are interested in these exciting job profiles – so, let’s wait and see what the future brings!”