The global energy transition offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform the energy sector in all aspects. The transition towards a renewable, distributed, decarbonised energy system is creating an array of social and economic benefits, including growing employment. IRENA estimates that the number of jobs in the sector could increase from 10.3 million in 2017 to nearly 29 million in 2050. The sector offers diverse opportunities along the value chain, requiring different skill sets and talents. A key pillar of the energy transition should be to ensure that the opportunities it creates are equally accessible, and the benefits it bestows, equitably distributed.
Adopting a gender a perspective to renewable energy development is critically important to ensure that women’s contributions – their skills and views – represent an integral part of the growing industry. Increased women’s engagement expands the talent pool for the renewables sector. Meanwhile, greater gender diversity also brings substantial co-benefits. Studies suggest that women bring new perspectives to the workplace and improve collaboration, while increasing the number of qualified women in an organisation’s leadership yields better performance overall. In the context of energy access, engaging women as active agents in deploying off-grid renewable energy solutions is known to improve sustainability and gender outcomes.
In recognition of these opportunities, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 introduced a dedicated goal on gender equality, noting that the “systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda is crucial”. Yet, detailed information on the status and trends related to gender equality in the renewable energy sector remains sparse.