GWNET brings you the 10th instalment of the “Meet the Women in Clean Cooking” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of the Clean Cooking Mentorship Program. This program is made up of 30 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from over 15 countries. Meet Clean Cooking mentor, Katrin Harvey, Chief Operating Officer at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Austria.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I love most that I get to connect with so many people from around the world, on a topic that we are all passionate about: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Austrian mountains where we got to enjoy nature every day and learned to protect it from a young age.
Now I live in Vienna, a city that is very conscious about environmental protection, social inclusion, and prosperity for all its citizens. Most of my working life has been about reversing climate change without leaving anyone behind, and I feel very lucky that my job allows me to continuously pursue this goal.
2) What were your goals when you started working in clean cooking? How have these evolved?
When I started working in the clean energy space, my goals were to help make people understand that clean solutions were available, viable and affordable. Now, most people know this, but there are still barriers to their widespread adoption that I want to help overcome.
3) What are the opportunities for clean cooking in your country?
I live in Austria, where cooking is very different from the developing world. Here, we mostly cook on electric/induction or gas stoves.
The biggest challenge was and still is being taken seriously. Sometimes I was the only woman in a room where men were discussing clean energy solutions, and I had to work hard to be heard. I have learned to not let myself be interrupted, stand my ground, and argue my points – but I am still working on that.
5) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the clean cooking sector?
As with any sector, I would recommend that women trust in themselves and their abilities. Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t undersell yourself. When you are in a job interview, in salary negotiations, when you are in a networking situation, or when it comes to pitching for projects – don’t listen to your inner voice that you can’t do it. If you think you’re not experienced enough, not good enough – ignore that thought. You’re not only enough, you’re most likely better qualified than most of the men in the same position.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.
If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor in one of GWNET’s mentoring programmes (which involves approx. 1 – 1.5 hours of engagement per month plus optional participation in knowledge-transfer webinars), kindly fill-in the Mentor Datasheet.