Gender Equality in Wind Energy: Let’s Get There by 2030
May 17, 2019
Equal by 30 means more women thriving and leading in clean energy
“Equal by 30.” It’s a concise statement of a key outcome – gender equality. It’s an initiative about working towards equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030.
2030 seems like a decade too long to wait for gender equality, but the facts are sobering. As it turns out, statistics for the clean energy sector show that we’re not nearly as far down the path to equality as we might like to believe. Internationally, only 35 per cent of the clean energy workforce is made up of women, and that figure drops to seven per cent at the leadership level. Female representation in some key trades roles is even weaker.
It’s not enough to wait; action is required. The growing clean energy sector simply cannot afford to under-leverage the skills of half the population, when there is already tight competition for talent in so many vital occupations, not to mention the growing evidence that workforce diversity promotes innovation and better decision making. It is a shared responsibility to ensure more women want to work in clean energy, and that they are able to thrive and lead in all roles.
That’s why I am proud that the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has signed on to Equal by 30, a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Energy Agency. CanWEA’s commitment as a signatory is three-part:
- High-impact collaboration, such as our ongoing relationship with WiRE Women in Renewable Energy;
- Support for systemic change, such as our advocacy as a signatory for Electricity Human Resource Canada (EHRC) Leadership Accord for Gender Diversity; and
- CanWEA’s promotion among its membership of the Equal by 30 principles and the actions needed to advance them.
When it comes to taking action to close the equality gap, an important step is to take a few minutes to reflect on the issue to improve your self-awareness – train your mind’s eye to see the problem! Here at CanWEA, we are asking questions about how we are doing on gender equality and what we can do to improve. For example, how many women are attending our events? Sitting on or moderating panels? Exhibiting? Networking? Making deals at our trade shows? Contributing on working groups? Chairing committees? On the Board? What can we do to improve? What requires more focus? What needs to stop? And so on.
We encourage members to ask comparable questions and consider actions that could move the dial within your organization – being mindful of the issue is a perquisite to enabling change. Recent research from Women of Influence shows that while nearly 70 per cent of Canadians view workplace diversity and inclusion programs favourably, 40 per cent do not know if their company has a relevant initiative in place.
If gender equality within your organization is something you expect, please consider signing onto the Equal by 30 campaign, as some CanWEA members already have, to help make it so. This initiative is due to have a high profile at the May Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Vancouver. And we hope the purposeful focus will build momentum towards realizing the clean energy sector’s gender-equality aspiration within the next 11 years.
Special thanks to Natural Resources Canada for being the Canadian champion for this global initiative.
If you liked this topic, you may enjoy the following:
- Learn more about CanWEA as an Advocate for the Electricity Human Resource Canada (EHRC) Leadership Accord for Gender Diversity
- Learn more about CanWEA’s partnerships with WiRE and the Electricity Human Resources Canada
- Sign up for StepUp Launching Seminar “Unconscious Bias” by Catalyst – a workshop on June 6, 2019 in Toronto, ON that puts gender equality at the heart of the global transition to a clean energy future. Breakfast sponsored by CanWEA member Gowling WLG.
Vice-President – Communications and Events at the Canadian Wind Energy Association