On the morning of Friday, 26th of June, a kick-off call was organized with the Austrian representatives of the C3E Initiative as well as the newly appointed Austrian Ambassadors for the period of 2020 – 2022:
- Cornelia Daniel, Owner, Dachgold/Tausendundein Dach
- Christine Materazzi-Wagner, Director Electricity, E-Control
- Elisabeth Spitzenberger, Head of Technical Management, Energie AG Oberösterreich
- Theresia Vogel, Director, Climate and Energy Fund
The purpose of the kick-off call was to not only provide more information about the IEA Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) initiative, but to also brainstorm concrete ideas on what could be done to improve the representation of women in the clean energy sector. Speaking from their own personal experiences, the ambassadors emphasized the need to raise more understanding and awareness for the reasons behind the lack of representation.
Elisabeth Spitzenberger provided examples of how she tries to actively engage and mentor young female interns at her company, so that they get a more in-depth understanding of the energy sector. She went on to state the importance of also involving men in the dialogue, for example by getting male department heads to mentor young women or vice versa. Christine Materazzi-Wagner called attention to the fact that the name of higher or further education studies also has an impact on the female to male ratio in the student body. In Austria, it has been commonly observed, that women are more likely to join programs called „Renewable Energy“ or „Sustainability“ than „Energy Engineering“ even though the subject matter is identical.
During the discussion, Theresia Vogel stressed that the mindset of young women must be changed in order to remove the fear that is often associated with the energy sector. Many young women are under the impression that they need to acquire a number of extra certifications and qualifications to even be considered eligible or qualified to work in the energy sector. The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth! Additionally, Cornelia Daniel stated that there are already so many networks for women that aim to empower women, not only in the energy sector, but across the board. However, the efforts could be strengthened and made more transparent, if they were to be grouped under an umbrella organisation. High-ranking women in the energy sector are already quite rare and thus under time constraints, which makes it even more critical that all empowerment activities ensure that they provide some added value to the participants, rather than a simple networking opportunity.
For more questions regarding the Austrian activities within the C3E Initiative, please contact: