On September 7, 2023, during the Suzhou International Energy Transition Forum (IFET), jointly hosted by the National Energy Administration of China (NEA), the Government of Jiangsu Province, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), GIZ supported the subforum Women Power in Energy Transition as co-organizer with Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) in collaboration with World Economic Forum (WEC). It was the first ever subforum on gender equality at Suzhou IFET (since 2015) under the host of NEA, showing growing awareness and recognition from top government level on gender issue in the green energy sector.
The subforum focused on discussing the role of women in driving global energy transition, bringing together representatives from governments, research institutions, think tanks, and businesses from both China and abroad. Through their unique perspectives, participants shared their experiences and practices of female engagement and leadership in the energy transition, discussing measures to support female professionals in the energy sector and promote the gender equality in energy transition, and eventually foster women’s potential to improve and accelerate the green energy transition.
Ms. Zhou Hailing, Head of the World Economic Forum Greater China Center and Impact hosted the event. MS. Chen Tao, Director of the Electricity Business Qualification Management Center of NEA, MS. Zhang Yan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Suzhou Municipal Government and Ms. Andrea Juenemann, Minister Counsellor at the German Embassy in China delivered opening speeches for the event.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Andrea Juenemann from the German Embassy emphasized that gender equality is not only a matter of fairness but also a key factor in promoting economic growth, innovation, and sustainable development. She highlighted that gender equality and women empowerment in the energy sector are global issues that require collaborative efforts. To this end, the German government has been including in all bilateral energy partnerships various gender-related measures since 2019, including the "Women in Green Energy Initiative" under the Sino-German Energy Partnership and the global women in energy transition mentoring program, aiming to enhance women's participation in the energy transition and provide networking and training opportunities.
The forum covered two main aspects: recognizing and understanding the contribution of women in energy transition and discussing measures to support and empower women in the energy sector.
Dialogue with Women Leaders in the Energy Transition
For the first aspect, Ms. Celia García-Baños, Programme Officer of Policy, Gender and Socioeconomics at IRENA, delivered a keynote speech via video, exploring the role of women in the energy industry, particularly during the energy transition. The presentation cited IRENA's 2019 report, "Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective," which revealed that women hold less than 32% of positions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and occupy only 13% of managerial and 8% of executive roles in energy companies.
Following this, the roundtable “Dialogue with Women Leaders in the Energy Transition” - moderated by Mr. Martin Hofmann, Regional Head of Climate, Energy, Environment, Biodiversity at GIZ brought six outstanding female representatives from the energy sector, who shared their insights, experiences, and prospects for the energy transition. The panelists are:
- Ms. Li Xuhong, Vice President, China Huadian Corporation Ltd
- Ms. Li Yalan, President, International Gas Union
- Ms. Zhang Hanbing, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President, Global Marketing, CSI Solar
- Ms. Harriet Truman Hall, Head of Climate and Environment at the British Embassy in China
- Ms. Sinthya Roesly, CFO,PT PLN (Persero),Indonesia
- Li Xia，Founder & CEO of Shenzhen Power-Solution Ind Co., Ltd.
Supporting women’s equal participation and leadership in energy transition
The second half of the forum focused on discovering measures to increase women's participation in the energy transition and enhance their leadership. Ms. Wang Qing, Gender and Climate Change Officer at UN Women, delivered a keynote speech on the challenges faced by women in the energy transition and empowerment practices. She discussed issues such as the low representation of women in senior roles in the energy sector, the lack of a gender perspective in green investment and financing, and whether new job opportunities created during the energy transition truly meet women's needs. Ms. Wang highlighted several measures for empowering women in the energy transition, including integrating a gender perspective into policy decisions, promoting women's leadership, enhancing the collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data, eliminating workplace discrimination against women, and strengthening the gender perspective in climate investment and financing.
Following this, Ms. Li Dan, Executive Secretary-General of Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), facilitated the second panel featuring six female representatives from various fields. They explored how to support equal participation and leadership of women in the energy transition from the perspectives of science, policy, economics, society, technology, and finance:
- Ms. Li Ying, Dean of School of International Education, China Women’s University & ACWF Executive Leadership Academy
- Ms. Hou Yuhan, Assistant of Chairman and Marketing Director, Goldwind
- Ms. Zhang Jingjie, Deputy Director of Planning and Development Department, China Electricity Counsil (CEC)
- Ms. Wang Dan, State Grid Electric Power Research Institute
- Ms. Lydia Wei，Vice-president, GE Energy Global EPC;General Manager of GE Energy Business Strategic Accounts and EPC ASIA
- Ms. Li Xin, General Manager of Beijing Jipeng Information Consulting Co., Ltd.
Establishing a database of female experts in the energy sector
In conclusion, Ms. Li Dan, Executive Secretary-General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), expressed the vision that the power of women in energy transition would have been more recognized. Building on the foundation laid at the Suzhou International Energy Transformation Forum, she envisioned a future where more female role models, practitioners, and sharers in the field of international energy transition would stand on various stages to share their achievements, experiences, and insights. Taking this "Women's Empowerment Subforum on Energy Transition" as an opportunity, CREIA announced the establishment of a database of female experts. Through the accumulation of this database, it aims to connect female experts better and more effectively in the field of energy transition, while also providing more space for showcasing and inspiring the female force in the energy transition process, collectively driving green and innovative change.
Women in Green Energy Initiative
GIZ supported this subforum as part of the Women in Green Energy Initiative activities. Launched in December 2020 under the framework of the Sino-German Energy Partnership, the Women in Green Energy Initiative is dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women in China's energy transition. By collaborating with partners, the Initiative facilitates connections, knowledge exchange, and skill development for female professionals in China's energy sector. Through networking events, expert workshops, and capacity building activities, we're driving positive change and creating equal opportunities for women to succeed in speeding up energy transition. Click here to read more about the Initiative and activities.