As we have seen, there are many inequalities that exist within this industry however the one that often gains the most traction is the gender gap. As mentioned in a previous post, 24% of our sector is employed by women which is less than a quarter of roughly 2.2 million employees. Writing as a female who is relatively “new” to this industry, those numbers were still shocking. After some intense investigating (thanks Google), I discovered that there are countless collaboratives and initiatives that are promoting gender equality in Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency.
“Equalby30” a campaign executed by the Clean Energy, Education, and Empowerment Initiative (C3E), works to advance the employment of women in the clean energy sector, which will in turn close the gender gap. “Equalby30: Balance Means Business” not only focuses its’ attention closing the gender gap, but also addresses how diversity and inclusion leads to a new form of innovation that will only positively affect our industry. One woman, Jacqui Murray (Deputy Director of Faraday Battery Challenge) commented, “corporate cultures often favor uniformity and most of us just want to fit in—especially if we’re in the minority. To unlock the potential of diversity, individuals have to be themselves.” Using your own personal experiences and knowledge in your work, can unlock this “potential of diversity,” and allow for a space where all backgrounds are valued.
Across many initiatives or collaboratives lies a common component. For these numbers to change in context of demographics, there is a link between business culture and foreword thinking. “Effective diversity and inclusion practices help Vattenfall acquire the competencies needed to succeed” (Frida Marty Wallgren, Vattenfall’s Process Manager of Diversity & Inclusion). If we incorporate these methods of inclusion into our business practices and organizational culture, it will become normalized. More competencies will be acquired (as mentioned) and the beginning goal of closing the gap will become more realistic. It’s that simple right? Unfortunately, not every organization and entity within our industry can change overnight. Step 1 is educating yourself about the issues that do exist and acknowledging that action needs to be taken.
Taking these initiatives (found below) and seeing the real success behind them is empowering. The comradery and collaboration within these programs are striving to make a change in our industry. Taking the structure of these and incorporating them into other issues in the Energy Efficiency industry, can enact even more positive change. Beyond gender, the demographic barrier surrounding race presents similar statistics. By consistently presenting information surrounding these topics, we hope to educate and inform members inside and outside of this industry on ways to make positive changes that will benefit all of us.
This issue not only exists in the United States, but across the globe in the realm of energy efficiency. Check out these resources to learn more about initiatives that are flourishing around the world and accurately addressing the gender gap in our industry.
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