Earth Week 2023: Value of Water, Gender & Youth

This Earth Week we’re honoring the value of water and WaterWoman Project’s growing industry coalition. These powerful stakeholders joined us for the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in a call for a gender-inclusive, just and future-ready workforce.

On Monday March 20, 2023, WaterRising Institute, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs and German House cohosted the Gender & Youth Hub to kick off the United Nations 2023 Water Conference — the world’s first water resiliency strategy convening in 47 years.

With the help of NYC Junior Ambassadors and NYC DEP Educators Network, we filled every chair with middle schoolers. These students are our next generation water workforce. Their voices were heard, and they were excited to learn how technology can turn climate action into a career

The Gender & Youth Hub convened water utilities, the private water industry, students and young professionals in a call to action to address our global water workforce emergency. Women and youth are essential to addressing our urgent water challenges, including record-level retirement, staffing shortages, and a lack of gender and minority representation in the water sector. Currently women represent less than 20% of the water workforce, and experience the most impact from climate change.

Very Special Thanks

NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice

C40 Cities

The Jones Ritter Group

  • Diana Jones Ritter
    President, former Chief Strategy Officer, and Deputy Commissioner, Organizational Development & Human Resources

Brown & Caldwell

  • Pam Elardo
    Senior Utility Performance Advisor, former Deputy Commissioner, Wastewater Treatment, NYC DEP

SUEZ SES North America

NYC Department of Environmental Protection

NYWEA and NYWEA Metro YP Committee

Water Environment Federation

British Water

If you missed it, catch the full livestream at featuring the following program:

  • Welcome from German House
    Mariella de Carvalho (she/her), Consul, Cultural Affairs and Science
  • Welcome from NYC Mayor’s Office of International Affairs
    Edward Mermelstein (he/his), Commissioner
  • Welcome from WaterRising Institute
    Alicia Douglas (she/her), CEO/Founder and Program Director, WaterWoman Project
  • Call to Action 1: Youth
    NYC Junior Ambassadors alumna, Piper Nguyen (she/her), UNSDG 14 (Life Under Water)
  • Call to Action 2: NYC
    Jessica Colon, Senior Policy Analyst (she/her), NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice
  • Call to Action 3: Cities
    C40 Cities, Rebecca Ilunga (she/her), Head, Adaption Research & Performance
  • WaterWoman Table 1: Water Utilities are Using Smart Tech to Address Climate Change
    Pam Elardo (she/her), Senior Utility Performance Advisor, Brown & Caldwell and Reginald Joseph (he/his), NYC DEP Assistant Commissioner, Digital Transformation, BWG
  • Call to Action 4: Gender
    Charles Shachinda (he/his), Technical Officer – International, British Water
  • WaterWoman Table 2: Youth, Young Professionals and the Water Career Journey
    Victoria Johnson (she/her), Global Equity Director, HDR; Adina Rivera (she/her), Engineer in Training, Henry Coe (he/his), Assistant Environmental Scientist, Hazen and Sawyer, HDR; Angelica Fasnacht (she/her), High School Student
  • WaterWoman Table 3: Jobs with Purpose at the Water/Energy Nexus
    Jennifer Steffens (she/her), Director, Strategy & Marketing, SUEZ Smart & Environmental Solutions; Jane Gajwani (she/her), NYC DEP Director, Office of Energy & Resource Recovery Programs; Clara Latini, UNSDN Youth
  • Call to Action 5: WaterWoman Project
    Alicia Douglas (she/her), CEO/Founder and Program Director, WaterWoman Project

WaterWoman Project is the first women-led, diplomacy-driven initiative working to increase gender inclusivity to solve the water workforce crisis and accelerate progress toward United Nations SDGs 5, 6 and 14 by 2030. WaterRising Institute is a Detroit-based 501(C)3 nonprofit organization born out of the Flint water crisis. To learn more, visit

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