Wind Directions: Wind industry can become a role model for gender equality
There is an “extraordinary drop-out rate” amongst women in engineering and technology related careers, according to Wind Directions’ latest research - and these are sectors which do not attract many females to start with. Yet the relatively young wind industry would be a good place to make changes, say experts.
Patrizia Kokot from the London School of Economics’ Gender Institute believes fewer women than men apply for scientific and engineering courses because of “persisting gender stereotypes”. Indeed, several women Wind Directions spoke to mentioned the surreal experience of being surrounded entirely by men at wind energy events. However, Barbara Savini from Garrad Hassan is typical when she says she has never encountered any discrimination within the sector.
Groups do now exist, like New York-based Women of Wind Energy (WoWE), to help those intrepid wind energy ladies to feel less isolated and encourage more to join the sector. But ultimately, it is up to the men currently dominating the industry to be aware of the imbalance and see what they can do to recruit and retain female colleagues, believes Jan Blittersdorf, CEO of NRG Sustainable Systems.
Sarah Azau, Editor