Report highlights how to advance and retain women in clean energy

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New findings cover 150 professions in a historically male-dominated sector, and could provide a roadmap to improved equity. 

Report highlights how to advance and retain women in clean energy

Research conducted by Shortlist and the Global Energy Alliance, presented in the report Empowering Women in Clean Energy: Advancing and Retaining an Equitable Workforce focuses on sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. 

Previous investigations have shown that only around one-quarter of leadership and management roles at clean energy companies based in the region are staffed by women. This latest work uses insights from females who are in the sector to offer recommendations to industry for improved outcomes, such as structured training, mentorship and coaching, transparent promotion pathways, flexible maternity leave policies and access to same-sex role models. 

‘As investments in climate and clean energy grow in Africa, we need to pay serious attention to female labor force participation in green jobs,” said Ciara Remerscheid, Director of Shortlist Futures, and author of the report. ‘This report provides a blueprint for clean energy companies to harness the talent of women throughout their organizations.

Shortlist, a talent advisory and recruitment firm specialising in African startups, social ventures and mission-driven organisations, funded the research through its Women For Green Jobs program, which partners with more than 40 clean energy companies on the continent, helping address equitable hiring challenges.

These are focus areas within the report, which includes an analysis of pay gaps, evidencing the crucial role training and placement opportunities can play in fairer remuneration. Tellingly, through, it was also found that even after upskilling and pay increases, the difference between gender pay was just as pronounced when comparing to men who had also been through the same, or a comparable, program. 

‘Women experience the greatest repercussions of climate change, which amplifies existing gender inequalities. A powerful transformation is underway in the African clean energy sector, as companies are making explicit efforts to hire and retain women at every level,’ said Makena Ireri, Director of Demand Jobs and Livelihoods at GEAPP. ‘As we work to further an equitable green energy transition, we see an unprecedented opportunity to drive greater job and economic opportunities for women,  youth and  low-income communities.’

According to the International Energy Agency, relatively speaking the gender pay gap within the global clean energy industry is around double the average for unrelated industries, with women likely to earn up to 20% less than men. A report last year in The Guardian showed that in the US, just 31% of workers in the green energy sector were women, a figure that falls to 22% when broadening the scope to the energy sector overall. 

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Image: Briana Tozour

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