As part of the annual CEM12/ MI.6 event, which was hosted by Chile from May 31 to June 6, 2021, the CEM12 and Gender Equality/Youth Participation event was held virtually. This webinar highlighted the emergency of employing new strategies to attract, support, and sustain all the talents and voices, particularly women and youth’s engagement with and in the clean energy sector. As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought forth the importance of energy transition, this event attempts to raise awareness and encourage women and young people to shape and accelerate the renewable energy transition.
Cherop Soy, from the SDG7 Youth Constituency, began the session by identifying gender equality as a catalyst for innovation and sustainable development. Drawing on the low percentage of women’s share in the energy industry workforce, she emphasized the significance of empowering women in the energy sector.
The floor was then given to the Secretary of Energy of the United States of America, Jennifer Granholm, to present her opening remarks. Secretary Granholm talked about the role of gender equity in the fight against climate change and the USA’s new strategies to deal with them. During her inspiring speech, she stated that “we need to tell young people with all backgrounds that a career in clean energy offers limitless possibilities.”
Another speaker in this event was Annette Hollas, C3E International chair, who thoroughly explained how each of the five domains of C3E International activities – data collection, ambassadors program, awards program, communications, and equal by 30 campaign -contributes to gender diversity and equality.
Following Hollas’ account, Hon. Seamus O’ Regan Jr., Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, outlined the two areas where the most work needs to be done: “1) engaging young women in shaping the world that they will inherit, and 2) bringing more women into an energy industry that is central to meeting our climate goals.”
Sabina Agustina Diaz, Project Manager, HD Fotovoltaica, engaged in an intriguing conversation with Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Sustainability, Technology & Outlooks Director, International Energy Agency (IEA), regarding career opportunities in clean energy. Mechthild first provided the audience with a brief explanation of IEA’s collaboration with C3E in data collection and analysis. Later, she noted that the energy industry is booming with multiple opportunities. However sadly, female employment in traditional energy is only 22%, and in the renewables sector, it is approximately 32%. Finally, Mechthild pinpointed the considerable demand for engineers, particularly female engineers, in the energy industry, which are well-paid jobs, and encouraged young women to enter this sphere to help them shape the new energy strategies.
The last remark by ministers was expressed by Rt. Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. Rt. Hon. Trevelyan advocated for women’s leadership in the clean energy sector to move towards a more sustainable and resilient system and promoted sharing experiences and best practices.
Furthermore, this event continued with a dialogue between Cristiana Marchitelli, Co-founder and Board Member of European Youth Energy Network and Loreto Rivera Torteroglio, Stakeholders Manager of RWE Renewables Chile and C3E International Ambassador. Their discussions concerning barriers and challenges for young women in clean energy left the audience with some tips, such as collaboration with other women is the key to success, and being open to job opportunities and believing in their capabilities would open so many unexpected doors to them.
Subsequently, an insightful video by fellow ambassadors was shown to the audience. You can watch the video(s) here.
The topic of mentorship was the next issue that was touched upon by Norah Magero, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Drop Access, and Davina Ngei, Communications Manager of Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET). Magero highlighted the part that education, training, and awareness play with regard to Kenyan rural communities, their acceptance of clean energy, and capacity building. Additionally, she indicated that there is a need for the involvement of more African and Asian communities in the clean energy transition to include different economies. At the same time, Ngei brought attention to the role of networking, advocacy, mentorship, and support systems in the clean energy sector for women. She argued that through senior and junior relationships, women equip each other with guidance and recommendations and consequently help each other advance their careers faster.
Getting back to the subject of climate change, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, announced that carbon emission is increasing to the second largest in history. Birol explained that in the face of climate change, which is one of the century’s biggest challenges, he has prioritized diversity and inclusion in his agency to involve and harness all the voices and talents.
Lastly, this event came to an end with the thought-provoking and reflexive speech of Grace Young, Global Community Coordinator, Student Energy, about the necessity of employment of new strategies by the stakeholders and the urgency of deployment of youth and women in the energy sector.
Please find the list of the speakers below.
- Cherop Soy, SDG7 Youth Constituency
- Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, DOE, USA
- Annette Hollas, C3E Chair
- Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, Canada
- Sabina Agustina Diaz, Project Manager, HD Fotovoltaica
- Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Director, Sustainability, Technology & Outlooks, International Energy Agency
- Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth
- Cristiana Marchitelli, Co-founder and Board Member, European Youth Energy Network
- Loreto Rivera Torteroglio, Stakeholders Manager, RWE Renewables Chile; C3E International Ambassador
- Norah Magero, Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Drop Access
- Davina Ngei, Communications Manager, Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET)
- Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency
- Grace Young, Global Community Coordinator, Student Energy