Gender diversity drives innovation, opens new pathways for technology deployment, brings valuable perspectives to social and economic development and provides a richer pool of talent for key and emerging industries. 

In the landscape of global issues requiring strong leadership and a skilled workforce, few areas are as critical as the transition to a sustainable energy system. Yet, as documented in IRENA’s January 2019 report “Renewable Energy: a Gender Perspective,” the energy sector continues to be male-dominated.

According to the World Economic Forum, one of the factors contributing to low recruitment and retention rates in STEM careers for women is the lack of appropriate women role models and mentors resulting in alienation from these disciplines. 

Looking at the sustainable energy sector holistically (STEM and non-STEM areas), it is clear that both men and women need mentoring, a factor associated with a higher likelihood of promotion. 

In particular, women can benefit from insight into negotiating the internal politics of an organisation, and a woman mentor is particularly beneficial. (Women for Sustainable Energy – Strategies to Foster Women’s Talent for Transformational Change, GWNET, 2020).

With this in mind, GWNET launched its second Global Mentoring Programme 2/2019 for junior/middle management women professionals in the energy sector, running from March 2019 to February 2020. 

This programme aimed to promote the transfer of knowledge and skills from experienced energy experts to upcoming women professionals, while also creating a framework and structure for guidance and support in order to increase the probability of career success.

The programme was made up of 22 tandems, with mentees and mentors from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas, across all areas of the sustainable energy value chain. 

Key components of the programme included:

  • Bilateral interaction for 12 months between mentees and mentors (several tandems managed to meet at least once in person)
  • 5 knowledge-transfer webinars on: decarbonizing transport, the global development of renewables and the role of women, personal development – self-presentation, governance in the energy sector, and SDGs and corporations – how does that work?
  • 1 concluding webinar
  • Continuous support by the GWNET Secretariat – including the provision of tools and necessary support to define and make progress towards selected and agreed-upon goals 
  • An online storytelling series: meet the women in the energy transition 

Our core goal at GWNET is to advance the role and participation of women in the energy transition, and we believe that we can achieve this by facilitating regional and global mentorship programmes that connect women professionals from around the world.

We hope that this and other mentorship programmes develop the needed capacity for women in sustainable energy, allowing them to make a greater impact within their organisation, fostering social change and encouraging increased participation of women in the energy transition. 

What’s Next?

Applications for the third cohort of the GWNET Global Mentoring Programme were launched on 8th March 2020 – International Women’s Day, with the goal to accelerate the careers of women in junior/middle management positions in energy, support their pathway to leadership positions and foster a global network of mentorship, knowledge-sharing and empowerment.

Interested mentees and mentors are encouraged to apply!

Additionally, we will create an alumni network on the Women in Energy Expert Platform, to ensure that networking and engagement continues beyond the mentoring programme. 

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