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FRANCE: A number of leading global groups and associations have formed a new network to increase the participation of women in the refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump sector.

The International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC) is led by the World Refrigeration Day (WRD) secretariat and UNEP OzonAction in cooperation with founding partners the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, the European contractors group AREA, ASHRAE, the Chinese refrigeration association CAR, the Latin-American Federation FAIAR, the International Institute of Refrigeration, the UK’s Institute of Refrigeration, the Indian institute ISHRAE, Japanese association JSRAE, U-3ARC of Africa, and Women in HVAC&R (North America).

The new network seeks to advance the engagement of women, promote career opportunities, and increase their overall participation in the RACHP sector, where they are significantly under-represented. It will also offer an opportunity to individual women, especially from developing countries, to get access to experiences and career development opportunities in the field that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

There are over 300 national, regional, and international associations, organisations, and institutions in the RACHP sector, however initial research indicates that fewer than 20 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.

“There are not enough visible women in cooling role models. We want to change that,” said Stephen Gill, head of WRD secretariat. “We will create a resource for girls and young women to see bite-size videos and read real-life stories from a diverse range of women in different roles within the cooling sector. This will also serve to connect and inspire women currently working in the cooling sector.”

“The cooling sector is critical for achieving environmental objectives, including the continued success of the Montreal Protocol and for addressing climate change. If they are to meet their compliance obligations, countries need a strong, vibrant, and inclusive cooling sector,” said James Curlin, head of UNEP OzonAction. “Women represent a tremendous, largely untapped source of innovation and skills for this sector, and they need to be actively engaged if we are to solve the great environmental challenges of our time. INWIC seeks to do just that.”

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