Closing Europe's Green Gender Gap

Closing Europe's Green Gender Gap

The European Green Deal lays out ambitious objectives aimed at achieving carbon neutrality and fostering sustainable economic growth by 2050. However, while the Green Deal promises a brighter future for the environment, it also reveals significant gender disparities within the energy sector.  

 At its core, the European Green Deal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decouple economic growth from resource use, and ensure a fair and inclusive transition. Yet, despite these noble goals, the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 highlights the gender dimensions of the challenges posed by the green transition. Women, particularly those in marginalised communities, face unique obstacles such as energy poverty and limited access to emerging job opportunities in green sectors.  

 Policies like the Clean Energy for All Europeans (CEP) package and the Fit for 55 package emphasise gender equality. However, in practice, gender mainstreaming in energy policies remains limited.

 Research indicates that women are underrepresented in the energy sector, especially in leadership roles. Structural gender inequalities perpetuate barriers to women's educational choices, entry, and retention in the energy workforce.

 Data are apocalyptic:

·     In the EU, women account for about 36 % of tertiary graduates in natural sciences and technologies and 27 % of students in engineering, manufacturing and construction, fields closely connected to energy sector.

·     Women account for less than one-quarter (22 %)of the conventional energy sector work force (European Commission, 2021b) and a little under one-third (32 %) of the workforce in the renewable energy sector.

·     Women are particularly under represented in leadership roles within the energy sector. According to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), women hold only about 5% of CEO positions in the top 200 energy companies globally.

 Gender segregation in the energy sector is closely linked to disparities in STEM education. Despite progress in some STEM fields, women remain significantly underrepresented in disciplines crucial to the energy sector, such as engineering and ICT. Gender stereotypes shape educational choices, hindering women's access to energy careers.  

 To address these challenges, additional measures are needed, including reskilling, upskilling, and support for job transitions. The European Commission's Pact for Skills aims to promote these initiatives, with a specific focus on attracting more women to renewable energy jobs. On March 8, let’s invest in women and accelerate their progress. By fostering gender-inclusive policies and investing in women's empowerment, we can ensure that all individuals, regardless of gender, can fully participate in and benefit from Europe's green transition.

 #InvestInWomen #IWD2024

 Data and resources: Gender Equality Index 2023

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