Toward a Gender Diverse Workforce in the Renewable Energy Transition

Citation:

Pearl-Martinez, Rebecca, and Jennie C. Stephens. 2016. “Toward a Gender Diverse Workforce in the Renewable Energy Transition.” Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 12 (1): 8-15.

Authors: Rebecca Pearl-Martinez, Jennie C. Stephens

Abstract:

We explore gender diversity in the energy workforce and highlight the value of systematic assessment of women’s participation in the move toward sustainable renewable-energy systems. A gender imbalance in the energy sector workforce is apparent in countries throughout the world, yet women’s participation in, and contributions to, the energy industry have not been systematically characterized. As the energy sector transitions from fossil-fuel dominated systems toward more efficient, sustainable renewable-based systems, new opportunities for a more inclusive energy workforce are emerging. We are concerned, however, that if the energy industry does not prioritize gender diversity now, the renewable energy transition could perpetuate and deepen, rather than reduce, gender inequality. Although research demonstrates that diversity enhances innovation and creativity, there is minimal attention to considering and promoting diversity within the energy workforce. In this Community Essay we explore how greater consideration of the role of gender and the value of diversity in energy could provide multiple social benefits, including promoting more sustainable practices, accelerating innovation, enhancing women’s opportunities, and empowering communities to engage in energy-system change. 

Keywords: women, gender, renewables, sustainability, fossil fuels, Energy, transitions

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods

Year: 2016

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