The Study

Filling the Data Gap to Close the Gender Gap

Our global water resiliency challenge needs an emergency response. Cities are experiencing three crises at once: aging infrastructure, a rapidly retiring workforce that is less than 18% women, and a need to transition to available technologies. To turn crisis into opportunity, we must first prove that women, nonbinary and trans people face barriers to water jobs–especially people of color and other disadvantaged communities living on the frontlines of climate change.

WaterWoman Project will provide proof with data. With nearly 25 women mayors in the U.S. alone, we can deliver on this goal.

Empowered by public, private and philanthropic (PPP) investment and building on World Bank Water’s work in the developing world, WaterWoman Project will collect data in 25 cities globally by 2025. In partnership with government, utility, technology, industry, research, and behavioral science leaders, our 3-year, 25-city study and training pilot will focus on high- and middle-income economies to benchmark gender-based experience to fill the data gaps, identify barriers and opportunities, while advancing the water sector’s digital transformation for a more equitable and just, water resilient future.

By upskilling and employing on the front lines of climate change, people will sleep better knowing that they’re getting paid to protect their families. Through equitable and just workforce development with a focus on digital transformation, essential water services will start to work better for everyone. With a community-generated, sustainable and resilient workforce that is more fit for purpose, we can also build back the public’s trust in water quality while increasing opportunity for upward mobility for all.

From this research, we will recommend gender diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) best practices for the water sector, from education and training, to recruitment and sponsorship, to optimized workplace policies and programs. Through public private partnerships (PPPs),  we will then pilot, replicate and scale these gender DEI best practices to achieve a more gender-inclusive and resilient water management–while accelerating progress toward SDGs 5, 6 and 14 by 2030.