Gender & Youth Hub

at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City

Program Details

With its first convening in 47 years, the UN 2023 Water Conference will take place March 22-24, 2023 in New York City to accelerate global momentum toward water resiliency goals (UN SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation) through partnership commitments. 

To set the agenda for the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, WaterWoman Project and NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs will kick off the summit with the Gender & Youth Hub on Monday, March 20, 2023, 2:00pm – 4:00pm EDT. The event will livestream online and take place live at German House, 871 United Nations Plaza. Seating is limited, so click above to “Get Tickets.”  

The Gender & Youth Hub is the only platform convening  a discussion and call-to-action centered on gender and youth voices and solutions for our global water workforce emergency caused by record-level retirement, staffing shortages and lack of gender representation. 

WaterWoman Project is the first women-led, diplomacy-driven initiative working to increase gender inclusivity to solve the water workforce crisis. The first program of WaterRising Institute, a United States-based 501(C)3 nonprofit organization born out of the Flint water crisis, WaterWoman Project increases gender inclusivity in water management to accelerate progress toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 14 (Life Below Water) by 2030.

Help us make water resiliency smarter and inclusive for gender and youth.

Contact us to learn how to get involved.

Table of Contents

The Gender & Youth Hub at the UN 2023 Water Conference aims to increase awareness, interest and demand for water careers by putting gender and youth at the center of the water resiliency conversation.

Cohosted with NYC’s Mayors Office for International Affairs, the Gender & Youth Hub will set the agenda for UN 2023 Water Conference. Leaders across government, utility, private industry, association, and NGO sectors will share the importance of water management in protecting public health and the environment, and the exciting technology emerging to protect water in a changing climate.

Highlights include keynote speeches by NYC Junior Ambassadors, 7th graders committed to UN Sustainable Development Goals 5, 6 and 14; WaterWoman Table thought leadership conversations with public and private water utilities, industry and youth leaders; and, networking  to inspire entry into the water workforce.

Speakers will dive deep into strategies for managing water resources and modernizing infrastructure, recruitment, on-the-job training and opportunities for career growth. Role models will share inspiring advice on how water jobs can become a calling, especially for women and nonbinary people of color who are underrepresented in the water workforce. Attendees will include STEM students, young professionals (YPs) and mid-career workers from the NYC metro area and beyond.

Key Components

Social Campaign Launch – March 8

Marking International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023, WaterRising will amplify plans for the Gender & Youth Hub at United Nations 2023 Water Conference, where it will introduce WaterWoman Project’s 3-year water workforce research and on-the-job training initiative with the goal to increase gender inclusivity  in water management. 

Funded through public, private and philanthropic partnership, WaterWoman Project will work with utilities and technology partners to study the barriers to water jobs for women and other disadvantaged people to address the specific needs for today and tomorrow’s talent pipeline to help advance  water management’s digital transition. 

The campaign will also include WaterWoman Project’s plans for the Gender & Youth Hub at UN 2023 Water Conference (see below).

Gender & Youth Hub – March 20

On Monday, March 20th, WaterWoman Project will put a spotlight on water careers in the climate resiliency conversation by hosting the Gender & Youth Hub with NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City. The event will stream online and take place live at German House.

The Gender & Youth Hub will feature a day of thought leadership, inspiration and networking, including live-streamed keynote speakers, WaterWoman Table conversations, and networking space for young professionals and students.

Gender & Youth Hub Elements

Keynote Speakers

  • NYC Junior Ambassadors, Young Professionals and Executive Leaders

WaterWoman Tables

Working topics include:

  • “Water Utilities are Using Smart Tech to Tackle Climate Change.” Cities are experiencing two crises at once: aging infrastructure and an aging workforce. Hear how utilities are rebuilding our water systems for resilience through workforce innovation, technology adoption, and critical reinvestment.
  • “Youth, Young Professionals and the Water Career Journey.” How redirecting the energy of activism inspires positive change within one’s community. How water careers turn climate action into a lifelong calling, especially for women and people of color who are underrepresented in the water workforce.
  • “Climate Jobs at the Water/Energy Nexus.” Moving, treating and using water requires energy. Water managers  are innovating the way we protect our most valuable natural resource to reduce GHG emissions while sharing how climate jobs can have both community-level and global-scale impact. 

Networking Space

A space hosted by partners with keynote speaker and water professional visits offering perspectives on and opportunities for mentoring and networking for students, young professionals and youth.

New York City Participants

NGOs, Associations and Private Sector

*To be confirmed

Situation Analysis

Water infrastructure is aging beyond its useful life while the water workforce is aging into retirement without an adequate talent pipeline to fill current and anticipated roles. Yet water infrastructure investments are out of balance with the critical investments that are needed for water workforce development. 

Women, who make up a fraction of the water workforce, have also left and continue to exit, despite competitive pay, increasing jobs in technology and engineering, and more recent focus on the advancement of women within the sector. More broadly, the water sector offers women and nonbinary, especially people of color, a sustainable career option, lower educational barriers to entry, and on-the-job training. 

While there are some decentralized utility efforts to study and address the issue, WaterWoman Project recognizes a critical need for sound, empirical and aggregated data to prove the business case for water workforce development innovation with a focus on gender inclusivity for women and non-binary. As traditional community caretakers, the logic follows World Bank Water findings that performance increases with gender diversity on leadership teams and at all levels of management. We need to continue studying and developing tools for continuous improvement in workforce development to move water resiliency projects forward.

Theory of Change

Building on World Bank Water’s pioneering work in developing economies collecting and aggregating data to and designing workforce development programs for women, WaterWoman Project will address the gender inclusivity challenge by launching a 3-year research initiative to survey utilities and industry on gender inclusion and experience in high-income economies in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. Future expansion opportunities exist in the Middle East and Singapore. From data, learnings and water jobs needs assessments, WaterWoman Project will design, develop and iterate pilot training programs focused on gender-diverse recruitment, retention and advancement.

To jumpstart the initiative, WaterWoman Project will also work with its founding private industry partners to identify smart water solutions for building on-the-job training programs for new and returning hires from disadvantaged communities. This collaboration will accelerate a just, equitable, gender-diverse, and sustainable water workforce from within the communities the water sector serves, while addressing economic development, critical infrastructure upgrades, and urgency resiliency goals.


With an unveiling at World Water Week 2022, the leading summit on global water issues, WaterWoman Project put gender front and center with a celebratory dinner and call to action to study the gender gap in water management across 25 cities by 2025 to accelerate UN SDGs 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 14 (Life Under Water). WaterWoman Project was joined by 2022 Founding Partners SUEZ and Xylem, as well as World Bank Water, SIWI’s Women in Water Diplomacy Network, and many others.

WaterWoman Project hosted its WaterWoman Table, a series of livestreamed thought leadership conversations exploring how the water sector is addressing the gender gap as a solution to the water workforce crisis, and how technology can create appeal and new entry points for all genders while addressing the water infrastructure upgrades in progress.

WaterWoman Project is the first program of WaterRising Institute, whose mission is to accelerate gender inclusivity in water management by helping utilities, industries and government prioritize a gender-inclusive, water positive approach to solving our water crisis made urgent by the climate emergency. WaterRising Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in Detroit, Michigan USA

Help us make water resiliency smarter and inclusive for gender and youth.

Contact us to learn how to get involved.