Blog: Girl power-ing the energy future!

I went to an all-girls school for 10 years. The energy industry never piqued my interest then because it wasn’t one that was talked about often – or at all […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

I went to an all-girls school for 10 years.

The energy industry never piqued my interest then because it wasn’t one that was talked about often – or at all for that matter.

Frankly, I was oblivious to it.

But I’ve been in the industry for over three years now and one of the many things that excites me is going to an event for women in the sector because you don’t usually come across many females who work in it.

I’ve attended a couple of Women in Energy events but what I learned from one I went to earlier this week is something that never struck me before.

People are always bringing up the issue of male domination, the bias women have to deal with – not getting paid the same amount, not having enough women in the boardrooms – not because they are incompetent but simply because they are female.

But what’s the point of always talking about those issues only with women in the room? Shouldn’t their male bosses and fellow male colleagues from the energy sector be present when having the discussion?

Perhaps there should be more events titled ‘Diversity in energy’ rather than ‘Women in energy’?

But having said that, if we pull back the curtain in the energy industry, you’ll see quite a few women in power.

From the European Commissioner for Climate Action to the Executive Director of the IEA to people more close to home like Angela Knight, CEO of Energy UK and Juliet Davenport, CEO and Founder of Good Energy.

It does seem women are taking charge of the male-dominated industry like never before.

And it’s not just in the boardrooms. There are others championing climate and energy policies, hitting the roads and demanding clean and green energy as well as making critical technological breakthroughs in research labs.

But the issue that still exists is the very large ratio gap. The balance of women to men in the industry does need to change.

Surely, getting a diverse mix of people – be it in the engineering or technical side or in the boardroom – brings more creativity, knowledge, different perspectives and greater benefits for the companies?

I’d say ELN is at the forefront of this with two women journalists – my fellow reporter and myself – plus a camerawoman covering the sector – and that’s within a team of 10!

More women would also mean more role models for young girls potentially wanting to study STEM subjects while at school and not just wishing to be like those bikini-clad airbrushed celebrities!

It’s time for the energy sector to break the myths of women only being suited for organising men’s diaries and promoting brands at events. It’s time to give more women the chance to shatter the glass ceiling.

And it’s definitely time for men to share their jobs with their female counterparts because moving to a sustainable, low carbon economy is too big and too important a job for men to tackle alone!