Utility Week

UTILITY Week 6th March 2015

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28 | 6th - 12th March 2015 | UtILItY WEEK Community Waterwomen In poor parts of the world, it is often women who suffer most because of a lack of access to clean water, says Louise Whiting. Women empowered Energy minister Baroness Verma describes a government initiative to promote women in the energy sector. I nternational Women's Day on 8 March is a timely reminder that 374 million women around the world, one in ten, do not have access to clean, safe water and 1.25 billion, one in three, lack an adequate toilet. Although much progress has been made in tackling this global crisis, the challenge isn't getting any easier. Climate change is exacerbating the water W hen I became an energy minister in 2012, I was immediately struck by the lack of diversity of leader- ship in the sector. So in June 2014, Laura Sandys and I set up Powerful Women to find a new way to showcase the leadership potential of women in the energy sector and build a diverse pipe- line for the chief executives of tomorrow. At its heart is an ambition for 40 per cent of energy com- pany middle management and 30 per cent of executive energy insecurity of the world's poor- est people in the world's poorest countries and making the lives of women and girls – those typi- cally responsible for water col- lection – even harder. Without safe, clean water close to home, staying healthy is impossible. And without an adequate toilet, diseases spread fast. The impacts go beyond health. Girls' education is company board members to be female. As new research published by PwC and Powerful Women shows, the figures today are stark: only 5 per cent of executive boards seats in the top 100 UK- headquartered energy firms are held by women. When assessed against the Davies Report target of 25 per cent female board rep- resentation by 2015, the report found that women account for only 9 per cent of all board seats in the top 100 UK-headquartered energy firms – compared with affected because they are too busy collecting water from dis- tant sources to go to school. Some drop out because there are no private toilets and proper facilities for managing men- strual hygiene at school. Women are unable to work to support themselves and their families, having to spend their time col- lecting water. Although they are most 21 per cent across the wider UK FTSE 100. But it isn't just about gender equality: a more diverse pool of talent will bring fresh perspec- tives, new ideas and broader experience – all things that are crucial to maintaining the UK's position in the ever-changing global market, addressing a loss of trust in the sector from increasingly empowered con- sumers, and helping to secure Britain's energy future. To help deliver this much- needed change, it will require affected by water insecurity and poor sanitation, women are oen best placed to drive change in their communities, promoting good hygiene and influencing decision-makers. WaterAid supports communi- ties to prepare for and recover from climate-related disasters, such as droughts and floods. Women have a vital role in this work. Koudougou Aminata, from Basbedo, Burkina Faso, is just one of those women. She meas- ures water levels and warns the community when they are drop- ping, encouraging people to manage their usage so that there is enough for all, even in the dry season. This International Women's Day, visit wateraid.org/uk/iwd and be inspired by more of the women tackling the water and sanitation crisis around the world. Louise Whiting, senior policy analyst (water security & climate change), WaterAid cross-sector collaboration and an increased focus on measur- ing diversity at every level so that we can really get to grips with making an impact where it is needed most. We also need to shine the spotlight on some of the fantastic female role models that already exist today – like the chief executive of Drax, Dorothy Thompson, BP's chief scientist Dr Angela Strank, and founder of Good Energy, Juliet Davenport – and where possible highlight best practice. Go to: powerfulwomen.org.uk International Women's Day, 8 March Recognising the contribution women make in the workplace

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