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Women in Geothermal Sciences – a WING, UNU-GEST film documentary

WING video project (source: UNU-GEST)
Alexander Richter 21 Sep 2018

Full Steam Ahead, is a video project is currently traveling the world exploring why so few women enter the field of geothermal science. The project is a collaboration between Bless Bless Productions, United Nations University-Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (UNU GEST), and Women in Geothermal (WinG).

A documentary film project called „Full Steam Ahead“ is currently traveling the world exploring why so few women enter the field of geothermal science, why the retention rate of women working in the field is low, and what can be done to level the playing field.

The film being worked on right now looks at women within the geothermal industry in Iceland, Kenya, Ethiopia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA, examining changes that have taken place within the industry in the past 50 years, both positive and negative.

In its approach the film focuses on gender inequality within the geothermal workplace in countries where women’s social roles and state of gender equality for women in the workspace are very different. The film team are meeting and filming women of different generations, from schoolgirls to women on drill rigs to geothermal pioneers now retired and looking back on their careers.

The documentary is a collaboration between Bless Bless Productions, United Nations University-Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (UNU GEST), and Women in Geothermal (WinG).

Film Maker and one of the leads of the project Susan Muska explains that the driver for the project has been the point that while women have been using geothermal energy for laundry and cooking for centuries, they now can work as geothermal engineers designing direct-use projects, and as company leaders. Yet, only a tiny percentage of the geothermal workforce around the globe is actually represented by women.

From Kenya’s Menengai crater to Hellisheidi, Iceland, to the steamy onsen culture in Japan, the film tracks at examples on how gender equality can be promoted by both men and women, and shows how different companies and societies can strive for equality, be it through UNESCO’s Science Camp of Excellence for Girls in STEM, to flex time and space for women with young children in corporate industries.

The project, so Susan Muska “… is aimed to increase awareness of barriers and challenges to equality, and share stories that can help companies increase participation of women.” The film is planned for release at the time of the 2020 World Geothermal Congress in Iceland.

The work on the film is funded through grants and corporate sponsorship. To support the documentary, connect with Susan Muska at blessbless@mac.com

Further background story can be found on the website of UNGEST

This article was published as part of the ThinkGeoEnergy Newspaper for 2018.