Who are the top women leaders in storage?

BY BEN COOK

  • Make your nomination for the top women leaders in storage
  • Lack of women leaders means storage is not fulfilling its potential
  • Storage sector will benefit from the promotion of women role models

The energy storage sector needs to do more to promote the successes of its women leaders – here’s how you can play your part by nominating the top women leaders in the sector.

The shortage of women in storage

Energy Storage Report’s recently published ‘Ten Energy Storage Companies to Watch in 2022’ article sparked a discussion on social media about the shortage of women leaders in the sector.

Like many energy-related industries, the storage sector does suffer from a severe lack of women in leadership roles.

It’s a problem in many industries. Indeed, it’s a sad fact that women are underrepresented on company boards and in senior management in general. However, as the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) has highlighted, this issue of under-representation is “even more accentuated in energy-related fields”.

The theories

Why are there so few women in senior roles in the storage sector?

One theory that is often put forward is the shortage of women studying STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects. Women are underrepresented in STEM education – statistics published by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), for example, show that only 21 per cent of engineering majors are women.

It’s a similar story in the STEM workforce. Statistics published last year by the United States Census Bureau, for example, showed that women make up only 27 per cent of STEM workers.

Why women aren’t reaching the top

So is the lack of women studying STEM subjects, as well as the shortage of women in the STEM workforce, the main reasons for the dearth of women in leadership positions in the storage sector?

Possibly. But maybe not. There is a belief in some quarters that the biggest factor is the lack of opportunities for women in the storage industry to develop their careers and advance into leadership roles.

This view was borne out by a recent Energy Storage Report survey on social media that sought to identify the major factors contributing to the lack of women leaders.

Survey participants were asked the following question: What is the main reason for the shortage of women in leadership positions in the energy storage industry? A total of 29 per cent of respondent said it was due to “STEM failing to enrol women”, while a smaller proportion (24 per cent) said it was because the storage sector was “hiring too few women”.

The biggest reason for the shortage of women in leadership positions in the storage industry? The fact that women in the sector have “few opportunities to advance”, according to the survey – this factor was cited by the largest proportion of survey respondents (31 per cent).

Cause for concern

So, alarmingly for the energy storage industry, the biggest problem is not the shortage of women entering the sector but rather the obstacles women face to career advancement after they have embarked on careers in the industry.

What are the knock-on effects of this lack of women leaders?

One of the key impacts – and this also applies to the energy sector more generally – is that the few women that manage to secure top positions are often “less connected with their peers than their male colleagues”, according to GWNET.

But there are a number of other damaging side-effects. The lack of women in leadership roles means the energy storage industry is:

  1. Less innovative than it could be
  2. Missing out on opportunities to pursue new pathways for technology deployment
  3. Missing out on fresh perspectives that could drive far-reaching change in economies and societies that could help to foster the wider adoption of energy storage
  4. Missing out on a richer and more diverse talent pool

As you can see, without more women in leadership positions in the energy storage sector, the industry will fail to realise its true potential.

What you can do

So how can you, the members of the energy storage industry, make sure the sector does reach it’s true potential?

Dr Margie Warrell, who was appointed as the Australian Government’s Ambassador for Women in Global Business in 2016, has said that role models matter, particularly for women.

Warrell has also highlighted that research shows that role models have “an amplified benefit for women due to the gender biases, institutional barriers and negative stereotypes women have long had to contend with across a wide swathe of professional domains – in short, seeing is believing”. 

This is your chance to play your part. Energy Storage Report will soon be running a feature on the Top Women Leaders in Energy Storage, who do you think should be included on this list? Make your nominations by sending an email to editorial@tamarindogroup.com You can make as many nominations as you like – when you contact us, simply provide us with:

  • The name of your nominee
  • The name of the organisation they work for, and
  • A brief sentence or two explaining why you think they should be included

The deadline for nominations is Monday 21 March.

The identity of those making the nominations will be kept confidential.

By making a nomination, you will help to ensure the energy storage sector fulfils more of its potential by becoming more innovative, by opening up new pathways for technology deployment, by encouraging new perspectives that could drive the wider adoption of storage, and by tapping into a richer and more diverse talent pool.

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