“We have one of the most important challenges to address, that is world-threatening. We will need our greatest minds and technologies and efforts, large and small, to even hope to mitigate the threats posed”, Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association
And some of these minds will be those belonging to women.
At the moment, women only represent 32% of employees in the renewables sector; and of the top 100 UK-headquartered energy companies (including oil and gas as well as renewables) 61% have no women on their board.
Scotland, in particular, is driving for a more inclusive form of growth that tackles inequalities, encourages competitiveness, helps future leaders and improves gender balance. And this approach has been embedded in the National Performance Framework, of which outcomes include that people have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.
Charlie Thompson, Marketing and Communications Director at Glasgow based ORE Catapult says, “The Renewables sector is going to have to look at the diversity and inclusion agenda. We are already adopting gender diversity targets but that's just the start - we need to look at wider diversity and how we attract talent”.
This view is shared by James Barry, CEO, from Argyll based Renewables Parts Ltd. He says, “In engineering and renewables, women are under-represented and the key to this may lie in how well we can adapt and accommodate more women in the workplace and create more opportunities. Therefore, investing in them, thinking hard about what they want and listening is every bit as important, as, for example, what new piece of technology equipment you are purchasing”.
EWiRE is one such approach. With over 500 members, this vibrant UK network for women in clean energy enables people and organisations to connect, learn and take action on gender diversity and inclusion. It works to increase both the visibility and profile of women working in the clean energy sector, as well as the representation of women on boards and in senior positions and promote the attractiveness of working in the Renewables sector, to boost the pipeline of female talent.
But is not just the development of existing talent. Ensuring that from a young age girls and young women see a fulfilling career path for themselves within Renewables is equally as important. James Barry says, “I'm passionate about going into schools and talking about technical engineering and trying to inspire all youngsters to consider such a career”
The future’s green, the future’s female.
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