Editor’s note: This blog post is written by Tracy Walden, Director of Media and Communications with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). Learn more about CanWEA here. The “Equal by 30” campaign discussed in this article is a public commitment, which asks companies and organizations to take action to accelerate the participation of women in the clean energy sector, so as to close the gender gap.
“Equal by 30.” It’s a concise statement of a key outcome – gender equality. It’s an initiative about working towards equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030.
2030 seems like a decade too long to wait for gender equality, but the facts are sobering. As it turns out, statistics for the clean energy sector show that we’re not nearly as far down the path to equality as we might like to believe. Internationally, only 35% of the clean energy workforce is made up of women, and that figure drops to 7% at the leadership level. Female representation in some key trades roles is even weaker.
It’s not enough to wait; action is required. The growing clean energy sector simply cannot afford to under-leverage the skills of half the population, when there is already tight competition for talent in so many vital occupations, not to mention the growing evidence that workforce diversity promotes innovation and better decision making.
It is a shared responsibility to ensure more women want to work in clean energy, and that they are able to thrive and lead in all roles.
That’s why I am proud that the CanWEA has signed on to Equal by 30, a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Energy Agency. CanWEA’s commitment as a signatory is three-part:
- High-impact collaboration, such as our ongoing relationship with WiRE Women in Renewable Energy;
- Support for systemic change, such as our advocacy as a signatory for Electricity Human Resource Canada (EHRC) Leadership Accord for Gender Diversity; and
- CanWEA’s promotion among its membership of the Equal by 30 principles and the actions needed to advance them.
When it comes to taking action to close the equality gap, an important step is to take a few minutes to reflect on the issue to improve your self-awareness – train your mind’s eye to see the problem! Here at CanWEA, we are asking questions about how we are doing on gender equality and what we can do to improve.
For example, how many women are attending our events? Sitting on or moderating panels? Exhibiting? Networking? Making deals at our trade shows? Contributing on working groups? Chairing committees? On the Board? What can we do to improve? What requires more focus? What needs to stop? And so on.
We encourage members to ask comparable questions and consider actions that could move the dial within your organization – being mindful of the issue is a perquisite to enabling change. Recent research from Women of Influence shows that while nearly 70% of Canadians view workplace diversity and inclusion programs favorably, 40% do not know if their company has a relevant initiative in place.
If gender equality within your organization is something you expect, please consider signing onto the Equal by 30 campaign, as some CanWEA members already have, to help make it so. Learn more and commit to the campaign here.
Read CanWEA’s the full blog post here.