Opportunities for women in the energy industry

IRENA forecasts that the number of jobs in the global clean energy transition could rise to 42 million by 2050. At the moment, though, women are still underrepresented in energy jobs around the world. The issue was discussed at the first „Women Energize Women” conference.

Women underrepresented in the energy industry worldwide© BMWK, data basis BMWK, IRENA

How can the proportion of women in the energy sector be increased and how can they be more empowered? This was one of the most important questions discussed at the first „Women Energize Women” conference, which was held in Munich on 12 May on the fringes of Europe’s biggest energy industry platform (The Smarter E Europe). The conference also looked at the important role women play in shaping the global energy transition.

A report by IRENA suggests that the number of jobs in the energy industry could rise from 13 million to 42 million by 2050 (Global Renewables Outlook: Energy transformation 2050). The forecast highlights the huge economic potential of the energy transition. However, women are still underrepresented, particularly in decision-making positions or technical fields. 78 per cent of employees in the traditional energy sector and 68 per cent in renewables are men. This is especially critical as there is a shortage of skilled workers in the field of renewable energies.

The conference programme, including discussions, motivational speeches and workshops on current energy issues (such as hydrogen, renewables, access to energy), with only women speakers, gave both women and men the chance to look at the energy transition from a female perspective and consider gender equality in the energy industry.

One particularly impressive feature of the conference was the large delegation from the initiative „Women in Energy United for Ukraine”, who attended at the invitation of dena (German Energy Agency). The women spoke about the terrible destruction in their country and discussed the options for reconstruction.

„Women Energize Women” is organised in the framework of the bilateral energy partnerships by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). It is directed at women worldwide, but focuses on countries with which Germany has energy partnerships.