The International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC) celebrates the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) with a collage

Today June 23rd is International Women in Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day began in the UK in 2014 as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society. Since then, INWED has grown enormously, receiving UNESCO patronage in 2016 and going truly global the following year.

National Women in Engineering Day was launched for the first time in the UK on 23 June 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. 

In 2017, National Women in Engineering Day became international for the first time due to the interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) was born to enable the celebration of women in engineering to become global.

International Network for Women in Cooling

To celebrate INWED, the INWIC produced a collage of women from around the globe working in the cooling sector. Not all are engineers, but all work in the sector, and reflects the wide and varied careers that this sector offers. Cooling (and sustainable heating) may be engineering based, but requires a range of disciplines and skill sets all working together. The network is made up of engineers and technicians, but also scientists, sustainability experts, managers, economists, sales and marketing professionals, recruiters, HR, trainers, researchers, communications, and many more.

Career experiences shared by the network indicate that many change roles during their careers, with some coming to engineering later in the career, and some engineers moving into other roles as their career progresses.

The International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC) was launched earlier this year to advance the engagement of women, promote career opportunities, and increase their overall participation in the sector, which includes refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heat pumps (RACHP). INWIC is led by the World Refrigeration Day (WRD) Secretariat and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction in cooperation with a highly-reputed group of founding partners, all of whom are active in this area – AIRAH (Australia), AREA (Europe), ASHRAE (Global), CAR (China), FAIAR (Latin America), IIR (Global), IOR (UK), ISHRAE (India), JSRAE (Japan), U-3ARC (Africa), and Women in HVAC&R (North America).

Although women make up half of the world’s population, they are significantly and visibly under-represented in the RACHP sector in all roles. INWIC seeks to reverse that trend. It is doing so while recognising that there are many excellent initiatives and structures established by different partners that are promoting women’s engagement in the RACHP field. However, more cooperation and information exchange at the global level is needed to link these individual efforts and make them even more meaningful and impactful, especially in developing countries.

There are over 300 national, regional, and international associations, organisations, and institutions in the RACHP sector, however initial research indicates that fewer than 20 (5%) of these have sections specifically for women.  Corresponding data indicates that where these women’s sections do exist, there is a greater number of women who are actively involved in the committees and structures of these bodies, which in turn increases the opportunities to raise the visibility of women in the sector.