According to research by POWERful Women, the initiative for advancing the professional growth and leadership development of women within the energy sector, 50% of the top UK energy companies* have all-male boards, 20% of these companies have only one female board member, and a massive 86% have no female executive directors at all.
With this in mind, All-Energy is proud to have played host to more women speakers than ever before in 2018. Both the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth took part in the conference and toured the exhibition, and such luminaries as ScottishPower Renewables’ Lindsay McQuade, National Grid’s Dr Charlotte Ramsay, Britta MacIntosh of Ameresco, Professor Karen Turner from Strathclyde University, Sian Wilson from Crown Estate Scotland, and Shepherd and Wedderburns’s Patricia Hawthorn, Liz McRobb and Clare Foster were among over a hundred female thought leaders from across the renewable and low carbon energy industry. Women speakers represented all four All-Energy ‘pillars’ – renewable power; low carbon heat; energy efficiency and low carbon transport. We hope that in 2019 we see even more women at the lectern.
There is still a long way to go before the diversity targets that POWERful Women aims to have in place by 2030 can be achieved. POWERful Women runs several schemes to support women in energy on their career journey, with mentoring, coaching and networking support ensuring POWERful connections are made.
In the POWERful Connections and POWERful Women @ All-Energy lunchtime networking session on 3 May, sponsored by ScottishPower in association with the Energy Institute, Keith Anderson, CEO, ScottishPower introduced the POWERful Women movement. As an ambassador for gender diversity within the energy industry (and father of four daughters), he emphasised the importance of male employees also being advocates for equality in their workplace.
Anderson stressed how encouraging women in STEM starts with capturing their imagination at a young age, and told of his experience working with schools to encourage young girls ultimately to consider career paths such as engineering, in contrast to the norm of it being marketed as ‘just for boys’. This follows research from EngineeringUK showing that only 25% of girls aged 16-19 would ever consider an engineering career, with 18% of girls surveyed thinking engineering was a career for men.
Guests at the session also heard from Cheryl Hiles, Sector Director for Energy and Environment at Pell Frischmann, who was mentored through the POWERful Connections programme, something that encouraged and inspired her to pursue her current role both professionally and as a mentor. ScottishPower Renewables’ recently appointed CEO, Lindsay McQuade then wrapped up the formal proceedings so that the networking and search for mentors could begin.
Hear more about POWERful Connections in our interview with Cheryl below, and download her presentation free of charge from the All-Energy website. If you would like to get involved with POWERful Women or would like to form some POWERful Connections yourself, go to http://powerfulwomen.org.uk/. If you are interested in sharing your industry knowledge and speaking in the All-Energy 2019 conference, look out for the Call For Papers that will be online in early October.
*The top 80 energy companies that meet two of three criteria are listed on the London Stock Exchange, have a head office in the UK or are a significant employer in the UK.