The convergence of the UN’s SDG5 and SDG7 and how these have an impact on the overall growth of a nation
The energy sector’s lopsidedness with regards to gender is as evident as the sun’s role with regard to solar energy. Traditionally, a male-dominated industry, the energy space has gone into stagnation in the past few decades. While addressing the need for sustainable energy and universal energy access, there is a major misstep with the role of women. The female workforce is an untapped resource which could contribute to tremendous growth of the industry. They are the most primal users in the consumer chain, and hence have insight on the requirements and solutions pertaining to the lack of universal access to energy. There is a growing trend with the presence of women in sustainable ventures and innovations taking scale. As noted by most industry experts, the lack of gender diversity in the industry contributes to a deficit in newer innovations and ideas.
The big question is, why women entrepreneurs should be brought to the forefront of the energy ecosystem? Well apart from achieving gender equality and universal sustenance, the energy sector specifically, has seen a rise in the number of women in the industry as well as the sector’s growth go in tandem. A study conducted by Cloverpop Inc showed, businesses that include women in the decision-making process had a better outcome in their plans 73% of the time as compared to all-male teams who succeeded at 58%. These trends in the industry are still at a budding stage and are yet to bloom into a full-scale shift in the workings of the industry. Here, the cause and effect remain the same, the lack of women in top leadership positions leads to a scarcity of mentors and guides for women to rise in an organisation from the ground-up. In a study conducted by Ernst & Young, the findings showed that in the global power and utilities sector, only 5% of board executives and 16% of board members comprised of women, in the year 2015.
In a country like India, with a large segment of the population living in rural areas without access to energy, let alone clean energy, the government aims to substantiate this need by aiming to achieve a massive target – 175 GW of renewable energy across India by 2022, which would in turn create around 3,30,000 job opportunities, a number of which could enhance the livelihoods of women in these areas. Going along these lines, another statement that coincides with the objective of gender diversity is that India can increase its GDP to up to 60% by 2025 by enabling more women to participate in its workforce, stated in a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute. This goes to prove the progress furthered by just employing more women.
The only way to resolve these issues and ensure the growth of the industry and thereby even the nation is for Governments, Stakeholders, and Investors to provide a platform to enable the inclusion of more women in the energy space. This brings us to the focal point of this blog; POWERED, an entrepreneurship development programme is one such initiative which aims to scout for women innovators and entrepreneurs in the energy value chain, support them by creating a multi-level ecosystem which would enable their businesses to scale. How does this work? In partnership with Shell Foundation, DFID India (Govt of UK), DST (Govt of India) and Zone Startups India, the programme is organising workshops, an accelerator programme, residential boot-camps, grand challenges, and seed investments among others, with the ultimate goal to increase economic empowerment of women-owned businesses in the energy space.
If you are a woman innovator/entrepreneur in an energy-related venture, we want to hear from you. The programme is now accepting applications till 18th June, 2018 at bit.ly/POWERED-apply-now. We encourage women entrepreneurs to apply and help take this initiative further towards building a brighter future for all.
“Index of Women in Power and Utilities.” Ernst & Young Global Limited, http://www.ey.com/gl/en/industries/power—utilities/women-power-and-utilities.
“Stage Set for Women to Lead a Solar-Powered Gender Revolution in Rural India.” Medium, 1 Dec. 2017, medium.com/energy-access-india/solar-powered-gender-revolution-taking-shape-in-india-645f155e096f.
Jairaj, Bharath, and Pamli Deka. “Creating Jobs for Women in the Renewable Energy Sector.” The Hindu, 15 May 2018, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/creating-jobs-for-women-in-the-renewable-energy-sector/article23884727.ece.
Larson, Erik. “White Paper: Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision Making.” Cloverpop, http://www.cloverpop.com/hacking-diversity-with-inclusive-decision-making-white-paper?utm_campaign=Forbes&utm_source=Forbes&utm_medium=Forbes Hacking Diversity White Paper.
Miller, Lindy. “Have a Seat: Welcoming Women to the Energy Sector.” POWER, 18 May 2018, http://www.powermag.com/blog/have-a-seat-welcoming-women-to-the-energy-sector/.
Tam, Cecilia. “Commentary: Gender Diversity in Energy Sector Is Critical to Clean Energy Transition.” International Energy Agency, 8 Mar. 2018, http://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/march/commentary-gender-diversity-in-energy-sector-is-critical-to-clean-energy-transit.html.
Vaughan, Adam. “Lack of Women in Energy ‘Holding Back Fight against Climate Change.’” The Guardian, 11 Feb. 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/11/the-energy-industrys-power-problem-too-few-women.