Pride in Water at Ozwater22
There wasn’t enough space in our booth to hold the enthusiastic supporters who helped make the Pride in Water presence at Ozwater22 in Brisbane a great success. The jubilant crowd included supporters from WSAA’s board and volunteers from across the industry.
Pride in Water is a network created for LGBTIQ+ people and allies that work in the water industry throughout Australia. The network is working to create a more inclusive water industry for LGBTIQ+ staff, contractors, customers and our broader community.
Background to Pride in Water
Pride in Water was established in 2019, driven by Yarra Valley Water and inspired by the broader water industries proactive leadership stance in encouraging a collaborative approach across the industry. The idea for Pride in Water emerged from the experience of two LGBTIQ+ employees at Yarra Valley Water (Jacquie Moon and Brendan Moore), passionate about creating a collaborative initiative, they co-founded the Pride in Water network to create an industry where every LGBTIQ+ person feels valued, safe and included.
A report by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2014 indicated that 11% of people in Australia identify as LGBTIQ+. It further stated that 50% of LGBTIQ+ people felt compelled not to reveal their sexuality or gender identity at work for fear of isolation, discrimination or abuse. In a 2019 study on workplace inclusion by the Diversity Council of Australia, 44% of LGBTIQ+ workers had personally experienced discrimination and/or harassment in the past 12 months.
Yarra Valley Water’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace has changed the culture of the organisation. Celebrating visibility days, providing information blogs and championing the importance of LGBTIQ+ allies have all contributed to a significant cultural change, and has seen an increase in employees feeling comfortable to identify as part of the LGBTIQ+ community and as strong allies. Through their experience of being involved in this cultural change work at Yarra Valley Water, as well as Jacquie and Brendan’s lived experience and connections within the LGBTIQ+ community, they could see that the water industry had significant opportunities to improve conditions for employees, customers and community, and align with leading organisations. This led to a vision for connecting with metro and rural water authorities across Australia to share resources, ideas and create a better practice approach to LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the water industry.
Pride in Water will provide support and guidance for all water authorities on their LGBTIQ+ inclusion journeys and will create a better practice model for the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community across the Australian water industry.
In 2021 the Water Services Association of Australia saw an opportunity to further support Pride in Water. The new partnership is now helping to build the capacity for Pride in Water to influence the water industry.
Working together, our vision is to create a water industry for ALL LGBTIQ+ people to feel safe, included and valued.
If you would like to join Pride in Water, collaborate with us, or find out more information, please get in touch via [email protected]