Women in Geothermal Sciences: a Visual Ethography

Project title: Women in Geothermal Sciences: a Visual Ethnography
Partners: UNU-GEST, Women in Geothermal (WinG) and Bless bless Productiosn
Timeframe: May 2015 to September 2018
Project lead: Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir, UNU-GEST Head of Research

UNU-GEST teamed up with Women in Geothermal (WinG) and Bless Bless Productions to create a documentary about gender equality in geothermal energy sector. The documentary will coincide with a campaign for gender empowerment organized by WinG, which the project will document.
WinG will launch an international gender equality campaign scheduled to kick off in New Zealand in the fall of 2017, in recognition that action must be taken to support and empower women in asserting themselves in their workplace in order to achieve equal status with their male colleagues and to realize future leadership goals for women in the geothermal field. The participants of the campaign will come up with a concrete list of demands for their employers that would make their professional and personal life easier and improve their overall position compared to their male colleagues. Then they will go to their managers and demand a clear response to their demands, even if it is a “no”. This will be an exercise for women to assert themselves in their workplaces.
The documentary will be based on a series of interviews with the participants of the campaign – women working in the geothermal energy sector in different geographic (and thus cultural) locations. The project covers a wide range of study-case countries, including Iceland, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico, New Zealand and Japan. This will highlight the contextual differences and the fact that full gender equality has not been reached in any of these countries within the sector.
The end result will be a research-inspired documentary that explores experiences of women in the fast-emerging geothermal energy field, and what equality in the workplace looks like to them. These women are at different points in their lives, education and career trajectories, residing and working in different countries. The variety of their experiences and perceptions of obstacles to gender equality in their professional field will be captured to demonstrate the multifaceted barriers for career advancement and personal/social empowerment.
Filming and fieldwork in Ethiopia, Kenya and Iceland took place in the end of 2016 - the beginning of 2017, and the collected data is now being analysed for further research and the development of story line.
The project was awarded 10 million ISK grant from the Icelandic Equality Fund in 2016, as well as Watanabe and Sasakawa research and cultural exchange grants for the part of the project that is set out to take place in Japan in the second half of 2017.
You can check out our information video here.