The World Bank Group / Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency / United States Agency for International Development / Global Water Partnership

Diversity and Inclusion in Water Utilities

Thursday 30 August | 11.00-12.30 | Room: NL Music Hall
Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank

While there has been some attention to human resource issues within water utilities, there is relatively less so on diversity and inclusion within them. Women for instance, are highly underrepresented in water utilities and even when present, their progression through the utility is slow and few make it to decision-making levels. Gender wage gaps can similarly be high. This matters not just for reasons of equity, but because it is symptomatic of the larger exclusion of females from STEM jobs. Concerted efforts at levelling the playing field with policies that actively attract female professionals in water utilities can have other salutary effects. They can, for example, mitigate the shortage of personnel that many utilities face, and some evidence points to better outcomes in institutions that have greater diversity.

Diversity and inclusion therefore, need to be a core part of utility reform and not merely token actions. This session will bring together thought leaders, managers, female professionals, and development partners and donors, to talk about barriers and opportunities for women in water utilities, in an interactive discussion that is based on empirical evidence and real-world experience.


Opening Remarks

Jennifer Sara, Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank (10 minutes)

Panel Discussion (30 minutes)  

Judith Enaw, Secretary General, International Commission of the Congo-Oubangui-Sangha Basin (CICOS) [video address]

Olabisi Agbeyo, General Manager, Ekiti State Water Corporation

Amadou Hama Maiga, Chair, Global Water Partnership-West Africa

Clare Novak, Senior HR Associate, Energy Markets Group

Discussion with the Audience and Q&A (25 minutes)

Development Partner Corner: Where Do We Go from Here? (20 minutes)

Maarten Gischler, Senior Water Adviser, DGIS

Soma Ghosh Moulik, Lead Water Sanitation Specialist, World Bank

Portia Persley, Deputy Director, E3 Bureau/Water Office, USAID

Johan Sundberg, Programme Manager, Sida

And other speakers

Closing (5 minutes)

Moderator: Ana Gren, Senior Policy Specialist, Department for International Organizations and Policy Support, Sida