The Landmark Practice attended a very motivational event on the 13 March 2015; a networking event aimed at bringing together entrepreneurial women of the renewables sector.
The EWiRE initiative
The purpose of the EWiRE initiative is to address the under-representation of women in the renewable sector across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, particularly at high levels. The aims are:
- To increase the visibility and profile of women working in sustainable energy businesses;
- To increase the contribution of women to the Boards and senior management of sustainable energy SMEs; and
- To promote the attractiveness of working in the sustainable energy sector to encourage wider female participation.
EWiRE will consist of networking events, promoting board positions, promoting case studies of successful women in renewables, and introducing a training and mentoring programme for those women who are entering the industry and have ambitions to rise through the ranks.
Key speakers at the EWiRE event held in March included Baroness Verma (Parliamentary under Secretary at DECC), Alison Kay (Global Sector Leader of Powers and Utilities at Ernst and Young) and Julia Groves (CEO of the Trillion Fund).
Key messages from the event
1) Women are under-represented in senior positions: There are ambitions for Government to ensure that by 2030 there are 30% of women in senior managers in renewable sector with 40% in middle management. The Ernst Young Index, referred to by Alison Kay, indicates that in 2014 there were 4% of women at board level globally and 15% non-executives (out of top 100 companies). This year the index reviewed 200 companies of which there were 5% executives and 14% non executives – despite an increase in the number of companies reviewed; a very low change in numbers. Based on the rate of increase over the last two years, it will be 2045 before there are 30% of women at board level. Whilst Government think quotes are a last resort 20 counties have opted for this approach, with many particularly the Scandinavian counties rising high in number of women at board level.
2) We need to be actively encourage girls to take STEM subjects at school beyond the age of 14.
3) We need to have the confidence to speak up and get over the fear factor, support each other including those on lower rungs of the ladder and look to role models. Equally we should not be ashamed to share our mistakes – we can learn from them! Our visibility should increase and we should look at ways in which we can network with other women as well as men.
4) Innovation positively correlates with gender equality and negatively correlates with a gender imbalance.
5) The Business Green Awards nominations have been extended because there were not enough women – should we consider a Powerful Women’s Award?
6) A Mentoring Scheme is being introduced through regensw focusing on moving women from middle to senior management and getting women on boards through a matchmaking programme.
Any women that are already in or would like to become involved in the renewable energy industry should contact Rachel Hayes at Regen SW.