One hundred women have come together at a RenewableNI event aimed at promoting women’s voices in the renewable energy industry.
Held on Wednesday 8 March, to mark International Women’s Day, the event brought together women from all areas of the renewable energy sector, including planning, engineering, legal, and communication.
The event was designed to promote diversity in the renewable energy sector, providing a platform for women to come together and share their experiences in the industry. It followed a survey conducted last year by RenewableNI which asked women what they wanted from an event, and the best time to run them.
The panel, chaired by Shoosmiths Senior Associate, Ruth Forbes, consisted of renowned renewable industry experts from all areas. Ruth was joined by Louise Cullen, Agriculture and Environment Correspondent, BBC NI; Tamasin Fraser, UK Director, ABO Wind; Niamh Kenny, Project Director, North Channel Wind and Sara Tinsley, Planning and Environmental Consents Manager, Energia Renewables. They discussed a range of topics affecting women in renewables including imposter syndrome, barriers in the industry, and how to encourage diversity in the industry.
Following the panel discussion, roundtable networking took place with a chair at each table including representatives from a range of companies in the sector including RES, SSE Renewables, Simply Blue Group, SONI Ltd, Utility Regulator, NIE, and KPMG.
Polls taken during the Women in Renewables event revealed:
- 89% per cent of the attendees revealed they had suffered from imposter syndrome;
- that only 39%per cent currently had a female manager, and
- women felt the biggest challenge was unequal opportunities. Followed by credibility, flexibility, equality of pay and prominence.
The women felt the biggest challenge was unequal opportunities followed by credibility, flexibility, equality of pay and prominence Addressing the lack of speaker diversity at energy events and forums in Northern Ireland, RenewableNI launched the Switch List during Women in Renewables – a directory of speakers designed to help the industry ensure that events have broad representation. Women attending the event were encouraged to register their details.
Judith Rance, Communications and Events Manager at RenewableNI said:
“The renewable energy sector has fantastic women working in a range of roles. While RenewableNI tried to ensure a gender balance of speakers, and offering free tickets for early career females at our annual conference, we knew this wasn’t enough. Offering today’s mix of panel and round-table discussions and networking was so popular, tickets sold out in a few days.
“Young women need to see more role models within the renewable industry and we need to enable more women rise to senior roles across the sector. The panel discussion and round table today discussed how we can come together to create these changes.
“RenewableNI is the voice of Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity industry, and today we highlighted how important females’ voices are within that.”
The event was sponsored by law firm Shoosmiths, who have built up the reputation of promoting gender equality and diversity. Senior Associate and Chair of the panel discussion, Ruth Forbes said:
“As statistics show, we are an industry largely dominated by men -as of 2022, women occupy only 27% of board seats and 75% of UK energy companies have no women in executive director board roles at all (POWERful Women’s Annual State of the Nation – 07 June 2022). It was great to be able to bring together an all-female panel of renewable leaders and have ten tables chaired by senior figures from across the sector. The topics covered today are issues that I strongly believe in. Shoosmiths are pleased to be able to invest in the future of women in the industry and support RenewableNI events.”
For more information on the Switch List visit www.RenewableNI.com/Switch.