FRANCE: Over 100 women engineers working in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry across the world are profiled in a new publication.
The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) OzonAction and UN Women have produced this booklet to shine a spotlight on the largely untold story of women working in this sector, focusing on their motivation, background, challenges and daily work experience.
Those included are described as pioneers, as role models whose stories should inspire a new generation of young women.
According to the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), approximately 12 million people around the world are employed in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector. Yet, while there is, admittedly, a lack of statistics regarding the proportion of women working in the sector, they are noticeably underrepresented.
In engineering, generally, data indicates that women constitute an average of 10-20% of engineering workers around the globe – a far higher percentage than in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. In 2017, the US industrial group Women in HVACR reported that women constituted only around 1.2% of the heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, technicians and installers. The proportion was similar for Canada.
A survey by the IIR to gather data on the number of women registered as private members of national refrigeration associations indicated levels of female membership that ranged from zero to less than 10%. Only two countries reported significantly higher percentages: China and Romania, with 19.5% and 33% respectively.
Yet, the need for skilled technical servicing and engineering personnel is higher than ever and currently increasing to meet the increasing demand for refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. This publication aims to raise awareness of the opportunities available to women and recognise their successes. The booklet identifies some challenging issues, struggles, success stories and very inspiring, motivating experiences.
Women in the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry: Personal Experiences and Achievements profiles the fascinating stories of 108 women from 50 countries. It is free to download here.