Robots could tackle water sector gender imbalance
Robots could be used to help tackle gender imbalances, improve safety and beat the "ticking time bomb" of skills shortages in traditionally male dominated sectors, including water and sanitation.
Working in water and sanitation can be very physically demanding. Less than one in five water workers are women, according to new research by the World Bank’s Water Global Practice. When it comes to construction, recent estimates by the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE), show women account for just 10% of its workforce, dropping even more dramatically to 1-2% when it comes to manual tasks on job sites.
Together with the ageing of the working population, such low rates of inclusion could soon curb the competitiveness of these crucial industries.
"Robotics will certainly be one of the key technologies to tackle gender imbalances, short working careers, and injuries on sites."
Robotics is among the key strategies to take up these challenges.
“The gender balancing question is becoming evident at the societal level,” said CECE secretary general, Riccardo Viaggi. “We are still a fairly traditional industry, where middle-aged men are statistically predominant.
"Multiple studies confirm that we would enormously benefit from increased diversity.”
Researcher Sigrid Brell-Cokcan is director of the Chair of Individualized Production at the German RWTH University of Aachen, and representative at euRobotics for the Association for Robots in Architecture. “Robotics will certainly be one of the key technologies to tackle gender imbalances, short working careers, and injuries on job sites,” she said.
Robotics is also gaining momentum in the academic world, with most architecture and civil engineering faculties having integrated them into their curriculum.