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26 May 2020
The renewable energy industry should embody gender diversity to accelerate the energy transition, says Women in Wind Ambassador for South Africa Veronique Fyfe
At this pivotal moment for the renewable energy sector, which has the potential to drive the global economic recovery from Covid-19 with a $100 trillion boost to 2050, the industry must take a gender-mainstreamed approach to harness the most robust talent and drive innovation.
In a recent interview with Engineering News, Women in Wind Ambassador for South Africa Veronique Fyfe argues that gender diversity in any context means drawing from “a larger and more creative talent pool,” and the world needs “all hands-on deck” including women’s valuable contribution to accelerate the energy transition at this critical time.
“Women’s perspectives and priorities may differ from those of men,” she says, “having them reflected in decision-making on energy technology choices, market design, and scale and scope of specific projects can bring about more balanced outcomes for society as a whole.”
The renewable energy industry is traditionally male-dominated. According to the Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective report published by IRENA, women constitute only 32% of the renewable energy workforce globally.
In the wind energy sector, women constitute only 21% of the workforce, as illustrated by the first-of-its-kind survey conducted by GWEC, IRENA and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) .
Although gender-implicit bias are “deeply ingrained into society,” Fyfe also notes that the renewable energy industry offers a huge opportunity to embody gender diversity to accelerate the energy transition because the renewables space “is newer than other industries.”
The Women in Wind Global Leadership Program “is designed to encourage more women into leadership positions in wind power on an individual level, and advocate for greater diversity and inclusivity in wind power on a sector-wide level,” says GWEC Policy and Operations Director Joyce Lee.
“As an industry, we should be empowering all people to reach their full potential, and ensuring we have the most robust talent to drive innovation,” she explains.
Women in Wind highlights the importance of equal participation in the fight against climate change. Set up jointly by GWEC and GWNET in 2019, the program aims at convening inclusive conversations about gender as well as advancing the careers of women in the wind industry via skills-sharing, knowledge-transfer and mentorship.
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