Sunday, December 9, 2012

How many of us are out there?

My first post is going to be less of a "hot water" topic and more of a "hmm...makes ya think".  While trying to brainstorm posting ideas, I started to think about our organization, Women of Water

The Division of Water Quality has a substantial amount of female employees albeit predominately male. I can imagine how it could feel to be the one of few women, but it's really difficult for me to think of how it must feel to be the only woman in your entire building! So, that made me wonder: just how many women are working in our fields?

I started my search by looking up Federal Labor Force Statistics. The most current numbers they had posted were from a 2011 Population Survey. According to this survey 28.9% of employed women worked as environmental scientists, 5.2% were waste water plant/system operators, and the percent of women working as environmental engineers didn't even make it on the charts because they didn't have enough data. I was surprised of these nation-wide numbers...a little impressed that almost 30% of women work as environmental scientists and really surprised that there aren't more female environmental engineers out there.

So, I went a step further... I wanted to see what numbers Utah had for women working within the water industry. The Department of Workforce Services has a website that displayed 2011 Labor Stats according to counties. Averages for Salt Lake County: Architectural & Engineering field - 2,018 women Scientific & Technical Consulting - 1,517 women Waste Management & Remediation - 172 women Environmental Quality Program Administration: 2,232 women The estimated population of Salt Lake County at the time of this survey was 1,048,985 with almost half (49.7%) of the population female.

To sum all that information up, within Salt Lake County 0.5% of women work in the water industry!!
There may not be a full binder of all of us women that work with water, but we've got a solid page. It makes me appreciative to know that we are starting an organization that unites us. With our members getting involved with education and outreach we'll be able to inspire more women to join our cause!

The proud, the few, the Women of Water.

(photo from Erin Boyle at Reading My Tea Leaves)

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