Today, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has launch a new report on female representation in the wind energy sector at a high-level women’s dinner co-hosted by the UAE Mission to IRENA and IRENA at the end of the first day of the 10th IRENA Assembly in Abu Dhabi. The report, which was launched and discussed at the “Women in Renewable Energy” evening event, draws on the findings of a survey jointly conducted by IRENA, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET). Wind energy: A gender perspective highlights that while significant job opportunities for women exist across the wind energy value chain, the global wind energy industry is yet to reach meaningful gender equality.
Participants of the high-level women’s networking dinner discussed and celebrated the indispensable role women play in the global energy transition, from leadership roles, through to technical installation jobs and technological innovations. Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, said: “The renewable energy transition can boost economic development and create jobs. But to ensure that everyone benefits from socio-economic opportunities created by the energy transition, gender equality is key. Women provide valuable perspectives on key decisions, from investment priorities to project design.”
He added: “The new survey on the employment of women in the wind energy shows that women possess the skills, yet gender roles and cultural-social norms are often still main barriers to gender equality. A greater participation of women would allow the rapidly growing sector to draw on untapped female talents, ensuring that energy systems of the future address the needs of modern societies and leave no one behind.”
Currently, women represent 32 percent of workers across all renewables, compared with 22 percent in traditional energy industries like oil and gas, analysis conducted by IRENA in 2019 has shown. The share of women in wind stands at 21 percent which indicates that the industry has a major challenge in ensuring that it draws more fully on women, removing barriers to entry, retention, and advancement.
Commenting on the event, H.E Dr. Nawal Al Hosany said: “The UAE has placed gender equality at the heart of its long-term strategies, with the renewable energy industry a key component of achieving its goal to empowering women to affect positive change."
She added: “With employment in the renewable energy industry set to further increase, there are significant opportunities for a greater gender balance in the global energy transformation, which the UAE has shown itself to be a leader in.”
Close to four million jobs were added to the renewable energy sector between 2011 and 2019, according to IRENA estimates. As such, the industry offers diverse career opportunities, requiring different skill sets and talent. In fostering greater female participation, this rapidly-growing sector can draw on untapped female talents while ensuring the socially fair distribution of socio-economic opportunities of the global energy transformation.