Women facing barriers in the renewables workforce

(Energy Post, 10 Oct 2019) Gender discrimination always matters. It should matter even more to the new green economy. Justice aside, barriers against half the workforce limit your talent pool.

For a sector where “business as usual” guarantees failure we need to ensure the fairest selection processes from the widest possible pool as new jobs are created every day. But today’s energy sector has a bigger role to play. Energy is now arguably the 21st century’s “sector of sectors”, given the existential importance of the transition and the unequalled investment and innovation taking place right here. As such, it is uniquely placed to set an example for all other sectors, across whole economies, across the world. Katy Briggs at DNV-GL looks at the numbers and trends, and explains why gender equality is not just fair but makes for good business. There’s a long way to go. She quotes figures that show that the non-fossil power sector has less diversity than fossil fuel production in the U.S., with women accounting for just 13% of the workforce. She ends by asking what you can do in your workplace.

New Green economy, old gender bias

How diverse is your organisation? This isn’t just a question about equality or building a fairer society. It is a business question too. Companies that are more diverse make better profits. A study by McKinsey showed that companies with more gender diversity in their leadership were 21% more likely to outperform the industry average profit. Furthermore, ethnically diverse companies were 33% more likely to outperform the average.

In the energy industry, the rise of renewables presents a significant source of new jobs. According to a recent Forbes article, decentralised power systems and distributed renewable energy now play a notable role in employment in Africa and Asia. For example, in Kenya, renewable energy companies already employ nearly as many people as the state utility, with numbers expected to grow by 70% in the next three to four years.

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Energy Post, 10 Oct 2019: Women facing barriers in the renewables workforce