GWNET empowers women in energy through interdisciplinary networking, advocacy, training, and mentoring. GWNET seeks to address the current gender imbalances in the energy sector and to promote gender-sensitive action around the energy transition in all parts of the world.
It is a well-known fact that the energy sector continues to be male-dominated. The absence of gender equality can be observed in all parts of the world.
Gender inequality is even more prevalent at decision-making levels. Women are generally under-represented on company boards and across senior management positions, as well as in politics. This reality of under-representation is even more accentuated in energy-related fields. As a result, the few women that manage to secure top positions are often less connected with their peers than their male colleagues.
It is important to note that gender equality has proven to be an indispensable factor in reaching sustainability. Gender diversity drives innovation, opens new pathways for technology deployment, brings fresh perspectives to the development of societies and attracts and retains a richer pool of talent.
These observations motivated four women professionals working in the sustainable energy field to found the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET). GWNET is a global network aiming at empowering women working in sustainable energy in all parts of the world at different career levels from both the public and the private sector. GWNET is an international non-profit organisation founded in 2017 under Austrian law.
GWNET is governed by statutes. Read the statutes here.
As noted in the statutes, the organs of GWNET include:
- The General Assembly;
- The Governing Board;
- The International Secretariat.
To guide its global activities, GWNET has created an Advisory Council.
GWNET Executive Director
Christine Lins is the Executive Director of GWNET where she takes care of network, strategy and work plan development as well as fundraising and oversees the implementation of various projects. Besides this, Christine is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).
Between July 2011 and March 2018, Christine acted as Executive Secretary of the Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century (REN21), headquartered at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Paris, France. Between 2001 and 2011, Christine served as Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council. She also worked in a regional energy agency in Austria promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. Christine holds a Masters degree in international economics and applied languages and has more than 23 years of experience working in the field of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
GWNET Communications Manager
Davina is the Communications Manager at GWNET where she works closely with the management to support advocacy, networking, and mentorship projects. Prior to joining GWNET, Davina worked as the Communications Specialist at the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER Hub), where she led the development of several key publications focused on the nexus of gender and renewable energy.
GWNET Project Assistant
Eva joined GWNET as the Project Assistant in June 2019. She takes over responsibilities including the organisation of upcoming GWNET events and supports the Executive Director in general administrative work. Eva holds a Master`s degree in Anthropology from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Sede Ecuador (FLACSO). She conducted research in the fields of Gender and Economy in the Latin American context.
MARIA VAN VELDHUIZEN
GWNET Project Manager
Maria joined GWNET in May 2021 as project manager for a study on gender equality in the hydropower industry. She works as a sustainability consultant on issues including off-grid clean energy financing, clean energy policy, climate change adaptation and ESG. Until December 2019, Maria was Senior Communications and Outreach Manager at the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).
GWNET Senior Advisor
Irene’s main area of expertise is economic and social development, women’s rights’ issues, environment, energy, and development cooperation. She directed the international department of the Austrian Ministry for the Environment, was Austria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, IAEA, UNIDO and CTBTO in Vienna, and headed the UNIDO Office in New York. She was Director General for Austria’s development policy and cooperation before assuming the ambassadorship for Austria in China and Mongolia (2012 to 2017), followed by Brazil and Suriname (2017 until March 2021). She retired in April 2021 and continues to advocate for gender equality in the sustainable energy sector and to teach, lecture and publish widely.
GWNET Project Manager
Natália is a Project Manager at GWNET with a particular focus on coordinating GWNET’s Mentoring Programme Portfolio. She is an Energy Engineer passionate about creating a more sustainable world. Natália has a master’s degree in energy planning and is currently finalising her Ph.D. on the role of seasonal-pumped-hydropower-storage solutions in adapting and mitigating climate change impact. Previously, she worked as a researcher developing scenarios for the energy transition. Also, she had experiences with the empowerment of local energy communities as part of a Horizon Europe project, and as an energy consultant in energy efficiency and data analysis.
Director of the Knowledge, Policy and Finance Division of
Chairperson of the GWNET Governing Board
Hydropower professional, Coach and Mentor
Member of the GWNET Governing Board (Treasurer)
Project Manager, Integrated Applications Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Member of the GWNET Governing Board (Secretary)
Austrian Ambassador to India
Member of the GWNET Governing Board (Deputy Secretary)
Relations Manager International
Project Development and Financing,
Member of the GWNET Governing Board (Deputy Treasurer)
Austrian Ambassador to the Netherlands
Deputy Director-General – Science, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All