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Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way

Women in the energy race

Using only 50% of the available creative mindpower is a bad business strategy for anyone wanting to stay ahead in the energy race. Diversity and gender equality is a key issue for Nordic Energy Research, which has recently set up a Nordic network to identify challenges, present solutions to accelerate change, and reduce the gender gap in the energy sector. This will ensure that women’s expertise and experience in the field are used efficiently.

As in many other sectors, the general impression is that there is a high level of equality and gender balance in the Nordic countries, but statistics and experiences tell a different story. This became, once again, evident at the network’s first seminar, where the energy industry, funding authorities and academia from the Nordic countries, as well as from Latvia and Lithuania, gathered to discuss the issue.

“The seminar was a good start for future action and cooperation to change the status quo,” said Pirjo Jantunen, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Helen Ltd in Finland, and Chair of the Future Energy Leaders at the World Energy Council.

The focus was on driving change and making recommendations on how to increase the creative mindpower in all sectors represented at the seminar.

“It seems obvious, but the future energy system has to be shaped by both genders to serve society well. If we are to be successful, the company also needs a gender-balanced workforce, at all levels,” said Íris Baldursdóttir, EVP System Operations & ICT at Landsnet in Iceland. “At Landsnet we have, for example, identified the importance of ensuring that we engage both men and women equally through our stakeholder groups.”

The lack of female role models in the energy sector was identified as an important issue at the seminar. Mentor programmes, including reverse mentoring, were identified as an important tool that needs to be developed. Such programmes are educational both for women in lower levels and those in leading positions.

The group will arrange a workshop on energy transition in 2018, and a new network will be opened up to all in the sector, since the initiative has attracted great interest. The network will collaborate with other energy networks in Europe.


Photo: Nordic Energy Research