The energy industry has long been known for its male-dominated culture and unequal opportunities for women’s career advancement. While progress has been made, more can be done to diversify the industry and ensure women’s equal participation in sustainable development. Globally, women account for 32 per cent of the renewable energy workforce, with 45 per cent working in administrative positions and 28 per cent working in STEM-related roles. Research from Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States shows that women typically hold less than 30 per cent of jobs in the renewable energy sector. Key barriers to women’s inclusion in the renewable energy sector are stereotypical gender roles alongside cultural and social norms that determine the jobs women and men can pursue. These norms and stereotypes translate into girls and young women choosing other sectors, and the sector offering limited job opportunities for those that try to enter. Women often face lack of access to career information and relevant networks, and biased hiring practices in the industry.
Women also experience a glass ceiling within the industry resulting in limited opportunities for upward mobility, as well as a lack of inclusive corporate cultures that do not provide flexible work arrangements, promote equal uptake of care responsibilities, or provide equal training and mentorship opportunities. Meaningful inclusion of women in the energy section leads to increased benefits for companies, namely better access to talent and critical skills, enhanced innovation and competitiveness, and improved retention.5 A critical step towards sustainable clean energy and global climate action initiatives is the advancement of progress on gender equality in the energy industry to ensure that women’s perspectives and expertise in this field are valued.