The Clean Energy Business Council, the International Renewable Energy Agency and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have gathered baseline data on challenges faced by women in the clean energy sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Findings from the survey suggest key actions to attract more women and draw from a more diverse talent pool.
- More than 50% of the respondents in MENA say their workplace has more men than women, with only 29% reporting an even gender balance.
- Women face additional challenges compared with men, according to 34% of survey respondents from MENA. Key barriers to their entry to the clean energy industry include lower enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and a biased view of gender roles.
- Some respondents suggest that women join the industry in entry-level roles, but do not reach the highest levels. Key challenges for women in the MENA region, as in the rest of the world, include the glass ceiling for promotion prospects and lower wages for similar work.
- Although two-thirds of MENA participants said the companies where they work pay women and men the same, one-third said women still receive a lower salary for the same role. Men are more likely to believe that salaries are equal than women.
- Many MENA countries have policies on maternity leave that are similar on paper to those in Europe and better than in the United States. However, only 60% of respondents noted the availability of parental leave, which might reflect an absence of paternity leave.
- Compared with respondents from outside the region, MENA respondents reported lower levels of family-friendly policies that allow for better work-life balance within their companies. Parental leave was reported to be the most adopted policy, followed by flexibility measures like flexitime, part-time hours and work-from-home schemes.
- Female respondents were most enthusiastic about networking events, mentoring and training as potential ways to help them in their career progression.
- Networking events should not be limited to women since 14% of female respondents said that they preferred events open to both genders, while 84% had no preference either way.