Last year the United Nations called for women working in the HVAC&R industry around the world to share their stories. These have now been compiled in a special publication – Women in the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Industry: Personal Experiences and Achievements.
“If you ask the average person on the street who they think designs, manufactures, installs and services the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment that cools our homes and offices, keeps our food fresh and preserves our vaccines, most people would not typically think of a woman,” says OzonAction.
“And yet, they should. Women engineers, technicians, trainers and professors are increasingly working in this traditionally male-dominated field and making significant contributions to its professional development.
UNEP OzonAction and UN Women have compiled the booklet to raise awareness of the opportunities available to women and to highlight their experiences and successes. It comprises 107 submissions from 50 different countries.
Australia is well represented, with no less than seven contributors. One of these, Jenny Smith, Affil.AIRAH, heard about the event at ARBS 2018.
“At the Women of AIRAH breakfast I was seated next to (former United States Assistant Secretary of the Army) Katherine Hammack,” she says. “She was the guest speaker. We spent most of the afternoon together and she suggested that I submit my story.”
Smith could see the value of the project, and followed Hammack’s advice.
“It demonstrates what is possible for women to achieve and contribute to this industry,” Smith says. “We have many achievements across a vast sector, including the views of engineers, administration, tradespeople and innovators. Hopefully young women will see this as a respected and rewarding career path with many opportunities and challenges.”
Since appearing in the publication, Smith says she has received messages from friends congratulating her, and from people in other countries contacting her about her story. She believes a follow-up project could focus on female pioneers and trailblazers in the industry.
“It could be great for younger women leaving school,” she says.