Why women need to benefit from the global energy transition?


Why women need to benefit from the global energy transition?

By 2030, the global energy transformation is expected to be the driving force behind the creation of an astounding 30 million jobs worldwide.

However, a troubling tendency is emerging that we have already observed in the fossil fuel industry. As the lowest representation of women is found in the subsectors driving this employment creation, including construction, the percentage of women projected to work in the renewable energy sector is actually expected to decline.

Women only make up 22% of the traditional energy sector, although making up 48% of the world's labour force. For senior management in the sector (including utilities), the percentage lowers to a startling 14 per cent, and the downward trend continues with women holding only 3.6 per cent of CEO positions.

The energy transition needs to be inclusive, equitable, and diverse in order to thrive. There is a chance to recognise the confluence of gender and climate as more businesses make significant climate pledges, and elevate objectives for women's economic empowerment alongside environmental targets.

How can an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive transition be made possible by the energy transition?

The sector must prioritise placing reskilling and re-education at the forefront of the energy agenda. Given that the majority of jobs in renewable energy involve competence in STEM domains, it is imperative that women develop their skills in those fields. And its implementation can be accomplished by a multi-step initiative aimed at retaining, encouraging, and training women in STEM. This includes, but is not limited to, appropriate training, certifications, and skill development programmes.

In addition to retraining, organisational cultures must be changed to promote gender-responsive working. Many people in the sector still claim a negative work environment as the reason they decided to leave their current position, and the negative reputation of the sector discourages fresh talent from selecting an energy-related career.

Building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable sector will be significantly aided by the adoption of initiatives that assure inclusivity throughout the organisation and advance gender equality, whether through hiring practises, mentoring programmes, or employee resource groups (ERGs).

Beyond that, we must keep providing women with fresh opportunities for employment. As they provide new sources of income and ways to achieve financial independence, these methods will increase the opportunities available to women.

A group of women in Yemen, for instance, established a private solar microgrid close to the frontlines of the battle, providing essential access to electricity while creating a reliable source of revenue.

Similar programmes have been implemented in India, where female business owners have used solar-powered electric sewing machines to create feminine hygiene items and face masks. These initiatives offer a glimpse of how easy access to clean energy may change a whole neighbourhood, if not the entire world.

Finally, and probably most significantly, achieving sustainable energy for all depends on centring the debate on women. Women must take the initiative in the discussion about women's future and be present for it to take place if a change is to occur.

As the industry struggles to meet the expectations of a "fair" transition in advance of COP27 in November, one prominent example will be Gastech, the largest conference for the natural gas, LNG, and hydrogen industries in the world.

As they attempt to adjust to a changing energy landscape, leaders from all points along the energy value chain will be there to set the agenda for creating an inclusive and diverse workforce. Women from all around the world will be attentively observing how we are portrayed at this crucial juncture in the energy industry.

In the end, a lack of diversity is a barrier to the business, and this holds true for all industries. However, as the energy sector experiences a rapid shift, there are more urgent difficulties to be solved. Adoption of novel technologies and business models will be necessary for clean energy transitions.

Above all, they will necessitate more involvement from a talent pool that is incredibly diverse.

Decisive action must be made to avoid the status quo taking control, particularly as we go through the energy transition. The pressing need to get to net zero forces the inclusion of hitherto unheard voices. "Climate change is a man-made problem with a female solution," said Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and UN climate envoy.

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