Echoing the global theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017 "Women in the Changing World of Work", GWP celebrates it by focusing on "Step It Up for Gender Equality". Being asked “how can the water sector step it up for gender equality?", the female representatives from GWP China's partner organizations speak their minds.
(Alphebitic order by last name)
DONG Flora, Ph.D, Head of Business, Power Construction Corporation of China
"The Company I work for believes that Women’s skills and knowledge are crucial for the effective and efficient management. To put it into context, our company management structure provides the necessary expertise on gender. Moreover, budgetary implications of gender in my company have been considered. Meanwhile, decentralize decision making to allow women a voice in organization decision making. "
LI He, Ph.D, Natural Resources Officer of Water Development and Conservation, FAO
"In general, education is fundamental for gender equity and also for career development. Secondly, diversify working experiences. In China, it's very common that working at a same place for a whole career. But in UN system, many colleagues have been worked for different duty stations at different continents. The last but not the least is learning and adapting. Learning is helping us to update our knowledges and working skills. Adapting is critical for change management and move forward."
QIN Jianming, Research Analyst, Tsinghua University
"As family responsibility tends to limit the time and energy women can spend on their career development, especially for women in the water community with intensive workloads, therefore, a relaxed and unrestrained working environment may benefit women professionals to balance their lives and realize higher achievements."
WANG Lei, Ph.D, Senior Specialist on Conservation Finance, Practice of Green Finance, WWF China
"Water is the living and development right of all people. The Chinese proverb that "women hold up half the sky" is a strong argument for promoting an initiative participation of women in the world into making decision and action of water sustainability and particularly those in less developed regions should be blended into leading groups. Only a river with healthy ecosystem can benefit local communities. The sustainable development of water resources will save women’s time in personal lives and families to further promote local development of health, education and economy."
XIA Jingfang , Secretary General, Water & Soil Conservation and Vegetable Development Center/ International Seabuckthorn Association, Ministry of Water Resources
"Water industry has its particularity that most professionals have to work in tough places. The basic service facilities should be equipped up to women's demand, i.e. accommodation, bath, toilet, etc., for a gender balance in water sector. Meanwhile, capacity building courses of technology and management can be tailored to play women’s expertise for their professional competition with men. As most women are more painstaking, the proper work arrangement is s good practice to give full play to their strengths."
XU Lijuan, Director of International Cooperation Department, China Water and Power Press
"Always I live with the thankful heart. I thank for the life making me a daughter, a wife, a mother, a lady-employee. These roles make me full. I was born in ordinary family. Luckily, my poor-educated parents show me unusual love. They taught me how to love others, to empower others, to appreciate others. The desire and eagerness to become someone’s wife, to drive me find my soulmate and went into a different world. The feeling likes reading a new book. I wanna say that the right one will mentor to you in a peaceful way. Mr. Right encourages you try to discover who you are. More harmonious you are living the more energy you will have to pursue your colorful life, including climbing up the career mountain.It's never too late to activate your dreams and turn them into reality. Working in the water community, just be yourself, show yourself and express yourself. Innovations are waiting to be found by us. The more value we add to ourselves the more price tag increases in this competitive world. Keep the passion for your professional goals. Your light will shine."
YANG Zhaohui, Ph.D, Senior Engineer, Department of Water Resources, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research
"There is a progress towards gender equality in water sector. The internal factor is self-esteem of women. They should take up the running to the leading role in academic and administrative field, breaking the glass ceiling. The external factor is male acceptance of female career roles. Men should be fair to women by giving equal development opportunity. Sharing a book "LEAN IN" written by Sheryl Sandbergboth with male and female, there is a word with female experts and colleagues that is to push a bold movement forward ‘lean in', mobilize full potential, balance work and family and enjoy life."
ZHONG Lijin, Ph.D, China Water Lead and Senior Associate, World Resources Institute
"We will have more excellent female managers for water resources if women could be given the equal opportunities of education, employment, participation in water management, and promotion."
ZHANG Sabrina, China Country Director, CDP
"Water issue, as a common challenge to all human kind, should be solved by gender equality."
Special thanks to those young ladies open to our interview.
Unlikely in old times, they are well-educated, career-minded and responsible for family and society. They make devotion to the protection, advance and wise management of water and other natural resources for a sustainable development of China and the earth.
In Chinese tradition, women are regarded as water and men as mountain. As water and mountain form nature, women and men make a society. And men hold up another half if 'women hold up half the sky'. Like other industries, gender issue has been existed along with other social problems. Targeting at it in water community, GWP promotes the Gender Strategy and organizes thematic campaign for International Women's Day at global level every year.
In China, we have a legal system for protecting women’s rights and interests and promoting gender equality that is based on the Constitution, takes the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women as the core and encompasses various specific state laws and regulations, local regulations and government rules and regulations. Some laws and policies, in particular, have also formulated and implemented proactive measures to boost women’s participation in decision making and management. Upon the GWP's Gender Strategy and China's policies, GWP China has had a commitment to foster diversity for many years, and has developed a portfolio of programs and practices to call on the water community to rev up gender equality at regional, country and local level.
It is one of GWP China's missions to facilitate women in our network to overcome obstacles they face as women; become successful in their professions and also share their experiences with other women.
Happy International Women's Day of 2017!