Baroness Verma – the UK government’s Energy spokesman in the House of Lords – has launched POWERful Women (PfW) – a new, professional initiative to showcase female leadership potential in the UK’s energy sector
PfW has an ambition of achieving ‘30% of executive energy company board members to be female by 2030’ and ‘40% of energy company middle management to be female by 2030’.
The energy sector is tackling a wide range of important challenges – from keeping the lights on to helping consumers reduce energy waste and building a more sustainable low carbon future. Industry competitiveness relies on a diverse pool of talent capable of bringing fresh perspectives.
Yet, recent research published by law firm Eversheds shows that on average only 12.8% of jobs in the energy sector are held by women and 12.5% of directors on energy company boards are female. PfW believes that a much stronger female influence is needed at the top table.
The group brings together industry, academia and political representatives that span exploration, energy generation and supply, energy efficiency, technology, government and consumer issues. It will support and encourage energy companies to appoint more women to senior roles as part of building stronger businesses – including through matching industry leaders with professional women to help overcome challenges and build opportunities for greater female leadership.
Baroness Verma said: “We need to transform the way we generate and use energy, but we also need to transform the disparity of representation of women in the industry, particularly at senior and mid-management levels. POWERful Women will endeavor to make this important goal become a reality – through bringing together industry, academic and political leaders to showcase women in the energy sector and provide support where it’s needed.”
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, and Co-Founder of POWERful Women, added: “POWERful Women is a fantastic initiative which champions and supports women into leadership roles in the energy sector. By engaging with companies, drawing on expert guidance and encouraging fundamental change in business models, this organisation really is creating a new generation of Powerful Women.”
Juliet Davenport, Founder and Chief Executive of Good Energy, said: “The energy sector faces massive political and consumer challenges, at the same time as going through a period of great structural change.
“We need a diverse set of ideas and views to be able to fix the problems the sector has. Having more women in the sector will help to ensure that we have a mix of views, can understand much more about what customers want, and are able to deliver a new set of innovative solutions to match those expectations.”
Angela Knight, Chief Executive, Energy UK (left) said: “Creating an organisation for the purposes of assisting and promoting women in an industry which has tended to be very masculine is an excellent proposal. I like the name too as “POWERful Women” both says what it is about – the power industry – and the upward direction we would like to see more women take.
“For companies, bringing more women into the industry in the first place brings a greater degree of diversity, thinking and ideas into that organisation and often shifts the focus towards the customers. POWERful Women” is not about seeking a takeover nor about wanting people to be promoted; for reasons other than the individual’s ability.
“What POWERful Women is all about is providing the network and support for women to make the most of their talents and skills.”