Why gender equality might be the better business opportunity in the solar energy industry within the next decade


The United Nations campaign for International Women's Day is clear: “Invest in women: Accelerate progress.” The increase in ESG policies from leading organizations in the solar industry and the constraints of the sector's workforce have spotlighted the importance of attracting and retaining female talent.

Gender-balanced and diverse teams are more productive and innovative. According to the report ‘Diversity Wins' (2019) from the McKinsey series investigating the business case for diversity, ‘companies in the top quartile for gender and ethnic diversity are most likely to outperform competitors in profitability'.

So, how is our solar industry performing for equality and diversity? Solar does not only lead in renewable generation; our sector also leads the way for gender inclusion. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency's report, “Solar PV: A Gender Perspective,” we employ the most women (40%) in the energy sector, almost double that of the wind industry (21%) and the oil and gas sector (22%).

But the scenario is far from perfect. This report highlights that 58% of the women are in administrative roles with no progression toward leadership roles, and only 17% belong to senior management positions where decisions are made. The report finds that the PV installers segment's force representation is also low, barely 12%.

This data set shows that we still have plenty of work to overcome external and internal barriers preventing women from pursuing STEM careers, accessing leadership roles, and being fairly represented across the whole value chain.

While structural barriers, such as maternity policies and childcare, belong to government policies that are not exclusive to our sector, we can implement campaigns to attract female talent to our industry.

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Overcoming internal barriers involves a proactive approach that combines building self-confidence, self-awareness, leadership skill development, and navigating organizational culture.

Women in Solar Europe (WiSEu) is a Network that provides women with a sense of belonging, tools, skills and role models on their path to career and leadership development. With nearly a thousand qualified members across more than fifteen European countries and partnering with leading organizations in the solar and energy storage industry, WiSEu has become in just a year since its creation in the network of reference for equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector.

In addition to providing networking and leadership-building opportunities, WiSEu is committed to providing visibility for women in the industry. On this note, it is a pleasure to join forces with PV Magazine to present our Ambassadors and Members so they can share their experience and expertise and become role models for other women pursuing career development opportunities.

Would you like to join the Women in Solar Europe Network? Join our LinkedIn group to start the journey.

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