On 20th July, the Energy Institute (EI) and POWERful Women (PfW) hosted a roundtable discussion on 'The importance of women in energy' to address the barriers facing women working in the global energy sector. The event was co-chaired by United States Deputy Secretary of Energy, Dr Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and Louise Kingham OBE FEI, EI Chief Executive.
At the event, Ms Kingham said: "As part of its promotion of better balanced workplaces in the energy industry, the EI is pleased to welcome the U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary to this important discussion. As the host and the secretariat for the POWERful Women initiative, we hope to share good practice between the UK and the US around STEM-based career development, mentoring, and the leadership needed to drive a culture change in our industry for the benefit of all."
In her keynote speech, Dr Sherwood-Randall said: "If we are going to meet our global climate and energy challenges, and develop and deploy the clean energy technologies that will power the world of tomorrow, we need to inspire more young people and more women to get involved in this dynamic field – in both the public and private sectors."
The numbers of women in STEM careers are significantly lower across the globe. Expanding the talent pool is critical to the energy sector. A report published by PfW earlier this year makes it clear that there needs to be a stronger, more determined focus from CEOs in taking the lead in maintaining a better balanced workforce. More women should be encouraged to take up careers in energy at all levels.
During the roundtable discussion, participants shared best practice to encourage women at all levels to engage with STEM subjects and join the STEM workforce. This meeting also marked a commitment to continuing an international dialogue among POWERful Women and the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Program.
This event highlighted some of the major challenges women face and what is being done to cultivate a climate that can better promote opportunities for women and others who have been traditionally underrepresented in the energy sector.