Gender Equality for an Inclusive Energy Transition: Women Leading the Way in Solar Energy

Even as renewable energy takes centre stage in the energy transition, women are still underrepresented in the sector (32%). Gender inequality is most evident at decision-making levels. Across the economy, the overall number of women serving on company boards and in senior management positions is painfully low, as is true in policymaking and governance. According to IRENA’s previous gender surveys, women represent no more than a quarter of directors from the participating firms across the renewable energy sector, while women barely hold 8% of senior management positions in the wind industry. Similar challenges -- and opportunities for improvement – likely present themselves in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. Like the other renewables sectors, it needs to do better to engage, retain and promote women if it is to fill its growing needs for skills and talent.

Studies suggest that women bring new perspectives to the workplace and improve collaboration while increasing the number of qualified women in an organisation’s leadership also yields better performance overall. Their leadership and contributions will be crucial to ensuring that the future energy systems address the needs of modern societies, take on the challenges of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and leave no one behind.

UN Women designated the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, as “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” IRENA used this opportunity to present “Gender Equality for an Inclusive Energy Transition:  Women Leading the Way in Solar Energy”. The event provided the stage for a dynamic dialogue on the challenges and barriers, the lessons learnt, and the success stories of women leaders in the solar PV sector. The event also served as the official launch of the new IRENA Global Gender Survey of the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Industry.

The detailed agenda is available here.