Dialogue on gender equity challenges and opportunities across the power sector in India

Dialogue on gender equity challenges and opportunities across the power sector in India

The energy sector remains one of the most gender imbalanced sectors. The participation of woman in power sector is highly skewed. Gender equity still holds a greater challenge in the power sector, which partly be attributed to the social and perception barriers about dominance of field-based activities, geographical mobility and shift-based working, which all have been traditionally considered negative factors for women’s participation.

During the 2nd International Conference on “Large-Scale Renewable Energy in India” the regional chapter called “South Asian Women in Energy (SAWIE)” a forum, supported under USAID Greening the Grid (GTG) Renewable Integration and Sustainable Energy (RISE) initiative, was launched by Edgard Kagan, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy New Delhi. In this regard, a special session for “Dialogue on gender equity challenges and opportunities across the power sector” was organized which was attended by energy experts to engage and ideate on the crucial pertinent issues and solutions to promote gender equity and equality in the sector.

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Edgard Kagan

Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy New Delhi

“USAID is committed to maximize women’s participation and to strengthen gender diversity and equity in the energy sector and today we feel proud to launch the regional chapter called “South Asian Women in Energy (SAWIE)” from this platform.”

The august panel for the dialogue included esteemed women leaders representing diverse verticals of the energy sector, Dr. Shalini Sarin, Board Chair – Signify Foundation, Dr. Ashu Verma, Associate Professor – Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Kathleen O’ Dell, Principal – Deloitte U.S., Markus Wypior, Deputy Cluster Coordinator-IGEN, GIZ and Debolina Chakravarty, Research Director – Spencer Stuart. The session was moderated by Michael Satin, Director, Clean Energy & Environment Office, USAID/India, he shared a compelling narrative around highly skewed participation of woman in power sector, and emphasised the need for a collaborative and strategic approach towards reaching gender equality goals and building strong pillars to mitigate the challenges faced by women in the power sector.

Shalini Sarin

Board Chair, Signify Foundation (Philips Lighting Foundation)

“Three key areas for women equality at workplace are enabling infrastructure, financial empowerment & women in position of influence.”

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The panel deliberated on the challenges and needs for strengthening the 3E’s for women professionals across verticals; Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment. Ensuring a good supply of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academic disciplines which has its implications for workforce development, to strengthening the next crop with skillsets essential to ensure influx of more women entrepreneurs into the workforce and finally to foster women employment, increasing gender equality, developing talent across utilities for enhancing and advancing careers of high potential women professionals
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Dr. Ashu Verma

Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi

“It’s not one institution, one organisation but need to bring in societal to promote higher women workforce participation.”

The panel also stressed the need for ensuring representation of women at decision making/leadership positions across energy ecosystem, so that these gender equality champions from diverse verticals of energy sector and ages aim at re-enforcing their voice, networks and advocate to make commitments towards gender empowerment across the business value chain.

Dr Kathleen O’Dell

Principal, Deloitte Consultant LLP

“Major issues in women participation are at recruitment, retention & advancement stage. Companies need to level playing field rather than retaining conventional approach.”

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This dialogue was committed to further USAID’s commitment of having a more balanced access to opportunities to strengthen women participation across all spheres of the spectrum. The panel agreed upon identifying the collaborative efforts required across power utilities, regulatory commissions, system operators and education & research institutions for a holistic development of the energy sector.