The age of automation, AI technologies and other avenues are offering new job opportunities. The term ‘disruption’ has evolved in every field; and to weather such disruptions, it is implicit that men and women would need targeted support to be skilled, mobile and tech-savvy.
Today, many non-profit organizations are increasing their focus on renewable and sustainable energies. When economies integrate women into renewable energy value chains, they are likely to harness their full potential and this can reshape aspects of how energy is produced and distributed.
One such organization is Solar Sisters from Africa, which is a training and job-creation initiative for women which distributes solar products in rural communities through female entrepreneurs. The team recruits, trains and supports this ‘new’ entrepreneur slot and equips women with solar products and clean stoves to build their own technology-driven business. Such convictions and empowering vision inspires actions across borders, and truly builds an inclusive organization for future.
When we talk India-centric, Avani Singh is the perfect picture to talk about. She is the founder of ‘Ummeed ki Rickshaw’ (rickshaw of hope), a program that enables women to drive smart, environment-friendly rickshaws and earn a living with dignity and respect. Such energy projects facilitate social change and scale up women engagement in entrepreneurship and training programs. These opportunities eases their inhibitions on taking leadership roles, thus changing the social and cultural perceptions.
But can an industry support in such non-profit moves alter the scenario for something even better? This is a win-win proposition for both; where women integrate their expertise, experiences, capacities and preferences, companies can mainstream efforts for women in their energy frameworks. This can be through assistance in tailoring training and skill development programs, working to attract and retain such talents for everyone’s benefit. With such agendas, it becomes easy for them to put-forth an example of women as actors in delivering energy solutions.
Industries that are hands-on in product designs, quality checks can synchronize with non-profit and sustainable energy drives for their product quality assessments and their longevity. If corporations have sustainability goals, their analytical efforts and policy initiatives can go beyond the confines of the energy sector and create prospects for women too.
With a vision to deliver growth to the society and the planet, Unilever, by 2020, aims to empower 5 million women by up-skilling them and providing them opportunities. Till 2018, in partnership with others, they have already enabled 1.85 million women develop their skills. To achieve this, they are emphasizing on systems change and multi-sector collaboration at national and global levels.
To attune to this kind of change, other industries should also start to address this lack of diversity and adapt to conditions where women education, professional development and progression is promoted. Being a high-growth and innovative business, it is an attractive industry for forward-looking individuals and needs to take a boost on diversity. Emphasis on renewable energy must become more and more pro-active and company websites should spread the word.
Companies should holistically embrace the renewable energy sector and offer it as an exciting career path for both men and women. The public needs to realize that an equal responsibility lies on their shoulders as they are the drivers for change. Corporates, educators and government should facilitate this change and their commitment should reflect in their activities.
Non-profit organizations are doing their part – but they can’t do it alone. For renewables to thrive and make climate solutions a reality, it is necessary to receive support from the industries as well as the public. In simple words, energy isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for the business as well.