The renewable energy sector in North America has experienced significant growth in recent years, with many countries in the region setting ambitious targets to transition to cleaner energy sources. However, like many industries, the sector has traditionally been male-dominated. Here, we will discuss the current progress of female representation in North America's renewable energy space, regional gender diversity initiatives, and North American companies are acting to improve representation.
Current Progress of Female Representation in North America's Renewable Energy Space
According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), women in North America's renewable energy industry make up 28% of the workforce, with the majority of women employed in administrative roles. Women's representation in leadership and technical roles is much lower, with only 15% of executive positions and 26% of technical positions held by women.
However, there are signs of progress in female representation in the region's renewable energy space. For example, the Solar Foundation's 2019 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study found that women's representation in the U.S. solar industry had increased from 21.6% in 2018 to 24.5% in 2019. In addition, companies in the sector, such as Enel Green Power North America, have introduced policies aimed at promoting gender diversity in their organizations.
Regional Gender Diversity Initiatives
Several initiatives have been launched in North America to promote gender diversity in the renewable energy sector. For example, Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) was launched in Canada in 2013 to promote women's participation and leadership in the industry. The organization provides networking, mentoring, and training opportunities for women in the sector and aims to increase women's representation in leadership roles.
In the U.S., the Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) organization provides similar support to women in the renewable energy industry. WRISE provides networking, mentoring, and professional development opportunities for women in the sector and aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.
Major players in Industry are setting the Pace
Several companies in North America's renewable energy sector have set targets to improve female representation in their organizations. For example, Enel Green Power North America has set a goal of achieving gender parity in its workforce by 2025. The company has also launched several initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity in its organization, such as the Women in Power program, which provides training and networking opportunities for women in the company.
Another positive step forward in the sector is the rise of providing mentorship and sponsorship opportunities for women in the industry e.g. SunPower's Women's Network provides mentorship and leadership development opportunities for women in the company.
Elsewhere in the sector it’s been great to see companies partnering with organizations that promote gender diversity in the industry. For example, NextEra Energy has partnered with the Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) organization to support women in the renewable energy industry.
While female representation in North America's renewable energy space remains lower than desirable, there are signs of progress, with organizations such as WiRE and WRISE providing support and advocacy for women in the sector, and companies setting targets and launching initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity in their organizations. It will be important for the sector to continue to prioritize gender diversity to realize the full potential of the industry and promote gender equality. By working together to promote gender diversity and inclusion, the renewable energy sector can set an example for other industries and help to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.