Task Force

Women Of Waste (WOW!)

Women make a strong contribution to the solid waste management sector and circular economy, both from the home front and at work as engineers, collectors, recyclers. There are women pioneers, activists, researchers, policymakers, as well as high-level managers and ministers of government – women are out there, but just not very visible.

Furthermore, women still face very real challenges. The range of barriers to women’s full participation is broad: from a lack of well-fitting safety equipment, to persistent bias in legislation, culture and gender roles, to harassment and even physical assault at dumpsites.
Women of Waste wants to change that.

Women of Waste was created by women to advocate for and spotlight women’s work and achievements. WOW! explores the link between gender and sustainable waste management and resource recovery systems to improve waste management overall, by empowering women in the sector.

Led by a technically and geographically diverse group of women experts, WOW! activities are based on scientific evidence and best practice solutions.

 

Our Mission and Objectives

The WoW Task Force promotes the role and visibility of women at all levels of the solid waste sector globally by:

  • Building a global network for women
  • Conducting and disseminating research on women in the sector
  • Strengthening the capacity of women waste workers and professionals through practical tools and training
  • Advocating for safe workplaces and equal advancement opportunities for women
  • Promoting rewarding careers in sustainable waste management to attract and retain more women to the sector

WOW! was conceived at the ISWA World Congress in Novi Sad in 2016 by Gali Feldboy-Klinger (Israel), Maria Tsakona (Greece/Norway) and Georgina Nitzsche (UK/Austria) and later joined by Frida Jones (Sweden), Gabriela Garcés (Peru/Germany) and Delila Khaled (USA/Egypt).

Recent publications

Maria Tsakona
Maria Tsakona

TASK FORCE LEADER

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Maria Tsakona is founder of Qgreen, an environmental and natural resources management firm in Athens, Greece providing innovative advisory and support services to businesses, public authorities, NGOs, and policymakers. She holds a degree in Environmental Engineering (MSc) and has more than 14 years of experience in directing and managing waste management plans and strategies, reuse and recycling programs, environmental impact assessment studies and feasibility studies. She has participated in several EU-funded projects and international projects (Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Brazil, MENA region etc.) and has experience in Information and Communication (ICT) tools in environmental management. In 2016 she joined the ISWA Marine Litter Task Force and since 2019 she has been working with GRID-Arendal, Norway (A UNEP partner) on plastic pollution and marine litter.

Her vision is “closing the loop”. She sees herself as part of the solution for green sustainable development, applying the principles of circular economy. Therefore, she approaches each project as an opportunity to strengthen the economy, society, and the natural world. To achieve this, she participates in multidisciplinary teams and bring innovative ideas and sustainable solutions into her projects.

Being part of the ISWA family for more than a decade, Maria introduced the urgent need to integrate the gender perspective in waste and resource management to ISWA in 2016.

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    Members & Partners

    WOW! Coordination Team

    Maria Tsakona
    Maria Tsakona

    TASK FORCE LEADER

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    Maria Tsakona is an Environmental Engineer (MSc) with more than 14 years of experience in directing and managing environmental engineering projects in the field of solid waste management: formulation of waste management plans and strategies, reuse and recycling programs, environmental impact assessment studies and feasibility studies. She has participated in several EU funded projects and has experience in Information and Communication (ICT) tools in environmental management. During the past seven years, Maria had the opportunity to participate in several international conferences and projects, which had contributed in increasing her understanding of major global waste management challenges and opportunities. Although there have been several issues that have attracted Maria’s attention, she has chosen to focus on two: marine litter and women of the waste sector.
    Georgina Nitsche
    Georgina Nitsche

    WOW! Coordinator

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    Georgina Nitzsche specializes in human security and development, working internationally on participation, capacity building and community engagement for civil society, government and international organizations such as the UNDP, UNICEF.

    She is a long-time associate of Women without Borders, supporting in action research projects for female empowerment projects in democracy and security building from Afghanistan to Zanzibar.

    Georgina holds an MSc in Sustainable Development and Climate Change and trained at the London School of Journalism. She was ISWA International Partnerships and Events Manager from 2016 – 2020 and represents ISWA Austria on the ISWA Working Group for Communications and Social Issues.

    Delila Khaled
    Delila Khaled

    WOW! Expert and Advisor

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    Delila is committed to accelerating positive impact in the world. For the past 25 years she has advanced inclusive economic growth and women’s economic empowerment across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. She has designed and managed multi-million dollar programs for USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and the World Bank in more than 20 countries. Working with the public, private, and informal sectors, Delila ensures that women’s empowerment is integrated into programs, policies, and investments. She has been at the forefront of advancing the role of women in the global recycling sector to better combat ocean plastics pollution.  Delila designed USAID’s first municipal waste and recycling program in Southeast Asia, and co-authored the Agency’s pioneering global study of women’s economic empowerment in the waste and recycling sector.

    An entrepreneur at heart, Delila has led non-profit and for-profit startups – including the Development Innovations Group and the Center for Global Policy – and advises women entrepreneurs in the US and globally on business strategy. Most recently, she joined forces with Global Bio Fund (GBF) – a venture capital fund investing in women-owned life science companies.  As Impact Partner, she drives GBF’s gender lens investment strategy and oversees investments in the circular economy and environmental sectors.

    Dr. rer. nat. Gabriela Garcés S.
    Dr. rer. nat. Gabriela Garcés S.

    WOW! Expert and Advisor

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    Gabriela Garcés is an environmental expert and biologist with extensive experience in research and international cooperation projects & programs in the fields of waste management and treatment technologies, circular economy, water quality, reuse approaches, hygiene, watershed management, environmental quality assessments and social aspects.

    She has worked in Germany, India, and Latin America (e.g. Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil) with int. organizations (GIZ, IUCN), local governments, NGOs, academia and the private sector. She has advised on participatory planning processes, and formulated projects and environmental strategies in interdisciplinary teams in the context of ecosystem protection, env. policies and climate adaptation. As expert and consultant, she is committed to knowledge transfer, capacity building and building networks for projects. She has advised women in waste and the environmental sector. At the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, she currently develops projects on the interface of water and sustainable waste/residue management.

    Gabriela earned a doctoral degree in natural sciences at the Technical University of Munich, studied Sustainable Resource Management and Biological Sciences, TUM (Peru/Germany) with majors in wastewater, waste management and environmental sanitation.

    WOW! Advisory Network

    Dr. Ruta Aidis
    Dr. Ruta Aidis

    ACG Inc.

    Dr. Sonia Dias
    Dr. Sonia Dias

    WIEGO

    Prof. Linda Godfrey
    Prof. Linda Godfrey

    CSIR principal researcher

    Ieva Rucevska
    Ieva Rucevska

    GRID-Arendal

    Meri Beth Wojtaszek
    Meri Beth Wojtaszek

    SWANA