14 marzo 2024

Women in the energy sector: future prospects and challenges

Women have a lot to contribute in the field of energy, and several initiatives promote their participation in order to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future.

Mujeres en el sector energético

"It is vital that women have equal access to training and careers in a historically male-dominated industry" IRENA in its Renewable Energy and Jobs 2023 report is clear on this. 

The energy sector is on the cusp of a transformation driven by innovation, sustainability and, increasingly, the inclusion of women in key roles. But what will their role be in the coming years? 

 

Women's inclusion in energy innovation

Women's ability to apply multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving is laying the foundation for a more resilient and sustainable energy future. It is expected that, in the coming decades, the presence of women in the sector will increase not only in number, but also in influence. 

Women will lead revolutionary projects, ranging from the expansion of solar and wind power to the development of emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, geothermal energy and smart grids. But how many women are already working in the energy sector?

Over the last decade, female profiles represent 27% of the energy sector in Spain, and the Industry and Energy Forum indicates that, in 2023, there were more than 10,300 women working for energy companies. 

Mujeres empleadas en el sector energético

Women employed in the energy sector


Number of affiliates in Social Security in January of each year


2013: 7,998
2014: 7,997
2015: 7,758
2016: 8,023
2017: 8,270
2018: 8,644
2019: 8,534
2020: 8,446
2021: 8,820
2022: 9,400
2023: 10,369


Source: Ministry of Labor

Women in the energy transition

The transition to a sustainable energy future is one of the key challenges of our time, and women are at the heart of the transformation. The growth of the renewable energy sector worldwide has increased their employability: the proportion rises to 32%, and the photovoltaic sector is made up of 40% women, which is well above the wind sector (21%), according to IRENA's report on gender perspective on photovoltaic solar energy.

The inclusion of female profiles is not only helping to mitigate climate change, but it is also ensuring that the energy transition is fair and beneficial for all communities, including the most vulnerable. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), only one in five senior positions within the energy sector is held by a woman. 

 

Mujeres en el sector energético

In the future, the hope is that there will be more women in decision-making roles, where they can influence energy policies and clean technology investments, as well as the implementation of projects that prioritise sustainability and social inclusion. Women's perspectives, combined with their ability to foster collaboration and innovation, will be critical to overcoming global energy challenges.

 

Initiatives that promote women's participation

Ensuring that the presence of women continues to increase in the coming years is not an easy task, but there are initiatives that play a crucial role in closing the gender gap in the industry:

  • The European Commission has created the "Equality Platform for the Energy Sector" where it highlights the importance of promoting equal opportunities at all levels, from professionals to end consumers.
  • STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and training from an early age helps to break down gender stereotypes and increases interest in disciplines in the energy field.
  • The Spanish Association of Women in Energy (AEMENER) is working to incorporate more female profiles into the sector at all levels of the value chain. 
  • The development of associations and forums such as Women in Nuclear or the Spanish Association of Ejecutiv@s and Consejer@s (EJE&CON) are other initiatives with great reputation.

The role of women in the energy sector is a critical factor for the success of the global energy transition. As we move towards a future where clean and sustainable energy is paramount, including women is a strategic necessity to achieve global energy goals.

 

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