Wind industry commits to greater gender diversity at industry events

  

On the occasion of COP25’s Gender Day, 14 wind and renewable energy associations representing the industry across the world have committed to uphold best practices for gender diversity at their future industry events. The Women in Wind Global Leadership Program published a guide of ‘Best Practices for Gender Diversity at Industry Events’  today to support member associations in mainstreaming gender diversity across their events to empower and showcase female leadership in the wind energy sector.

The full guide can be viewed online below or downloaded as a PDF here

Further resources for diversity and inclusion in clean energy are available in the Women in Wind Resource Center.

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Best Practices for Gender Diversity at Industry Events

The wind energy industry can play a leading role in promoting the role of women as agents of change, collaborators and innovators in the global energy transition. Our events should reflect this position.

Industry events signal the direction of the market,  provide a public face for wind energy and showcase thought leadership and role models in the wider energy system. But too often, wind and other renewable events exhibit a dramatic gap between male and female speakers, unequal representation of women among attendees and poorly attended sessions on gender diversity. This must change.

The Women in Wind Global Leadership Program compiled a set of best practices for gender diversity at wind industry events. The following best practices should act as guidelines and not hard rules. Every event has a different market and context. These recommendations, provided in English, can be translated to other languages and markets with the appropriate consideration of cultural differences. In addition, events (particularly those billed as “global”) should reflect the wider diversity and inclusion picture, including representation of intersectionality.

Planning

Mainstream gender from the planning stage onward

Adopt a holistic approach by integrating diversity into an event in its entirety. Consider including a gender perspective on a range of topics, such as: project sustainability; stakeholder engagement and community relations; workforce development and skill-building; health and safety; technology and innovation; and more.

Give gender diversity a spotlight

If planning a specific session on gender diversity, assign the session a time and location which is prominent enough to guarantee a large audience. Attendees (particularly male attendees) tend to opt out of panels on the topic of diversity, so consider a mainstage event in the middle of the day, rather than an end-of-day breakaway panel.

Maximize network-building opportunities for women attendees

Ensure that any organized B2B matchmaking activities and related social events are gender-inclusive and balanced.

Consider adopting a Code of Conduct

This document would cover expectations for etiquette across attendees, speakers, sponsors, staff and volunteers at the event and related side events, in order to ensure a safe environment for all. It should explicitly state that sexist or discriminatory language/behaviour will not be tolerated. Any speaker briefs should highlight a Code of Conduct, in order to avoid gender generalizations or potentially offensive remarks during the event.

Speakers

Quotas do not equal gender balance

A panel discussion (2+ speakers) should have at least one woman panellist, excluding the chair/moderator. This ensures equality of thought leadership, and not just visibility of a woman on-stage.

Remind companies about gender diversity

When approaching companies for speakers, remind them to consider gender and other forms of diversity when nominating a representative. Anticipate how the tone of invitations and the logistics of events might impact speaker interest and availability (for instance, an evening session may be challenging for someone with caretaking responsibilities).

Use networks for speaker suggestions

Tap networks for suggestions of women speakers or use open directories such as the Switch List, the Women in Energy Expert Platform or Brussels Binder.

Take questions from a variety of audience members

During a Q&A session, moderators should aim to collect questions from a diverse range of audience members. If a woman is called upon to ask the first question, it may encourage other female audience members to raise their hands.

Communications

Encourage post-event transparency of gender representation

Organizers should consider publishing statistics about the percentage of male versus female speakers and delegates, as a means of raising awareness of gender parity at industry events. A post-event survey which includes gender diversity aspects would also be helpful in evaluating whether diversity measures were impactful.

Use gender-neutral titles and terminology

Avoid addressing women by marital status (“Miss” or “Mrs”) unless it is their preference. Use professional titles (such as “Dr” or “Prof”) or “Ms” as a neutral form of address. In event communications, adopt gender-neutral terminology, such as “humanity” instead of “mankind” or “spokesperson” instead of “spokesman,” in order to reinforce inclusivity. Be mindful of inadvertent gender-specific pronouns (e.g. “each CEO will discuss hybrid solutions during his presentation”).

Consider the public face(s) of the event

Ensure a strong gender balance and diversity of color in promotional visual materials, including on-site banners of event ambassadors and social media campaigns. Events should aim for a gender-diverse audience as well.

Align the event with gender diversity

Highlight gender diversity as a theme or priority for the event on marketing materials, communications and social media. Include a variety of voices in quotes and event highlights. Anticipate how to manage situations where an event may not deliver on diversity, for example due to last-minute speaker cancellations.

We call on our colleagues across key transition technologies (like solar, biofuels, tidal, battery, hydrogen and storage, and demand-side response) to join the wind sector in ensuring that industry events are supportive of a gender-inclusive energy transition.

The following wind and renewable energy associations endorse this document and commit to upholding best practices for gender diversity at their future industry events:

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