October 7, 2019

Towards an equal and diverse energy sector – launch of the Nordic Energy Equality Network

Reducing carbon emissions and dependence of fossil fuels is crucial in combating climate change and global warming. The energy issue is in focus, but despite the transition towards sustainable energy being a process that concerns everyone, not all perspectives may be included. The energy sector suffers from lack of equality and diversity, also in the Nordic countries. The Nordic Energy Equality Network was launched to become the Nordic umbrella for the promotion of gender diversity and
empowerment of women, forming a Nordic voice for an inclusive sustainable energy transition.

The NEEN Board at the network’s launch in Vaasa, Finland.

The official launch of the Nordic Energy Equality Network (NEEN) gathered together major stakeholders in the energy sector from all five Nordic countries on 26 September in Vaasa. Karina Barnholt Klepper, Chair of the Steering Board, shared NEEN’s vision to ensure gender equality and diversity in developing the energy of tomorrow. “NEEN will do this by making the energy sector increasingly visible to women and highlighting role models”, elaborated Sofia Elamson, Secretary of the Board. Representatives from the academic, industrial and public sector were all present during the launch. National networks such as Kraftkvinnorna from Sweden and Women in Energy Iceland shared their success stories of increasing gender equality in the energy sector while pointing out that there is still a long way to go. “We have a lot of work to do, but it’s really encouraging that we can do it together.”, said Viktoria Raft from Kraftkvinnorna.

NEEN was founded with the belief that the sustainable energy transition is far too important to only be decided upon by a narrow section of society. The energy issue affects everyone and is a question about mindsets, structures and cultures that should include all perspectives of society. Diversity is proven to increase creativity, and creativity is a much-needed component in the energy sector at this defining moment.

The first step towards NEEN’s mission to increase visibility of women in the energy sector was taken on 27th September at the Vaasa Climate Change Conference and Networking Forum 2019, wherein a panel discussion on the topic ‘How are women accelerating the sustainable energy transition?’ was organized by NEEN. The session highlighted the role of women in the transition towards a low-climate impact energy system and how their engagement is crucial for the sector and also for the society at large in mitigating climate change. Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, Former Icelandic Minister of Industry and Commerce highlighted that “diversity makes economic sense and leads to better decision making, better management and greater innovation”. NEEN will strive to make the energy sector increasingly visible to women and highlight role models in order to attract more women to this sector. NEEN will build bridges between education, research, government and industry and promote an inclusive approach through the whole sector.