‘Addressing the gender gap requires a bottom-up approach, beginning with recognition and regulation’

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I never believed I would face barriers in my career development because I always knew that with purpose, I could achieve anything. The only real barrier I have encountered in my professional journey has sometimes been the absence of a clear mission. Fortunately, I had great role models growing up and encountered a remarkable female mentor in my very first job. This mentorship equipped me with the tools to navigate any organization, be it an international body or a leading technological company.

While it hasn't always been easy, and I did encounter resistance, particularly as a well-spoken young woman, it’s clear that age often poses a more significant barrier than gender at this stage. At Huawei, however, I found a supportive environment where I could thrive as a young female professional. From day one, I was encouraged to find my purpose within the company and bring fresh ideas, particularly in leveraging digitalization for the green and energy transition.

Both the ICT and energy sectors suffer from limited female participation. In Europe, only about 17% of the nearly 8 million ICT specialists are women, and while the renewables sector is slightly better at 27%, there's still a significant gender gap. In my public affairs role, I have the chance to shape the European debate on these issues through policy and education. Addressing the gender gap requires a bottom-up approach, beginning with recognition and regulation, followed by education, reskilling, and upskilling strategy.

The EU has made significant strides in this direction. Even though women in the EU earn, on average, 12.7% less than their male counterparts, a new report shows little to no gender pay gap at senior levels in the tech industry. This improvement is partly due to the EU Pay Transparency Directive. However, reaching top-level positions isn’t feasible for everyone, and this is where skills development becomes crucial.

The path to climate neutrality, driven by the digital and green transitions, necessitates a new set of skills—'Twin Skills'. The EU Green Deal has laid the groundwork for these skills and associated ‘Twin Jobs', creating new opportunities in a modernized, agile, flexible, and digital energy sector. Women, often engaged in social sciences, can transform their knowledge into numerous professional opportunities. Policymaking can guide industrial transformation, and women in this field can leverage their understanding of industry needs.

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The renewable sector is now poised to welcome a growing number of talented female professionals in technical, sales, marketing, operations, logistics, and public affairs roles. At Huawei, we see this as a tremendous opportunity, and we are doing our bit to nurture the next generation of industry leaders. Through initiatives like Seeds for the Future and the programs for female leadership at the European Leadership Academy, we are committed to fostering a more inclusive industry.

Interested in joining Giorgia Epicoco and other women industry leaders and experts at Women in Solar Europe? Find out more: www.wiseu.network

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