The Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) is taking various measures to increase the visibility of women in energy professions, recognise women in leadership roles and highlight role models for young women to inspire them to pursue similar professions. This also includes various activities within the framework of the C3E International initiative.
Energy Breakfast Series
Recent activities in this context include the first Austrian Energy Breakfast as part of the initiative with a total of about 70 participants in November 2020. The Event was organised by the BMK, the Austrian Energy Agency and the Vienna University of Technology. It was deliberately aimed at female students from technical fields of study. The Austrian C3E Ambassadors as well as representatives of the Ministry and the Vienna University of Technology contributed with their various stories and experiences in order to be a role model for female students and encouraging them to follow their path in the energy industry.
The feedback from the participating female students on the event was very positive, as it gave them the unique opportunity to get in touch directly with women in leadership positions and to hear from them how they got there and what it is like for them to work in a leadership position today.
In April 2021, the Girls Pioneer Event took place virtually in Austria as part of the C3E initiative, organised by the Austrian Energy Agency for the BMK, with a total of about 110 participants. The aim of the event was to introduce high school girls to the opportunities available to them in the climate, energy, research and innovation sectors, thereby supporting them in their considerations for a future career path. The event served as an exchange between pupils, students and representatives from the public sector, energy companies and the scientific environment, in order to demonstrate to young women in an interactive way what a career in the energy sector has in store for them and what paths are open to them.
The feedback from the participating students was also very positive for this event. Many had not yet had a real insight into the energy sector and were thus able to learn about the diverse career opportunities available to them and also meet young role models who are already working in the energy field and were able to offer them insights into their career paths. The interest was so great that an Austrian energy supplier offered even a separate internship for the participants of the event in the energy sector afterwards.
The FEMtech initiative is one of the most important networks in Austria for improving the framework and access conditions for women in the technical and scientific field. It directly supports women in research and technology and aims to create equal opportunities in industrial and non-university research. FEMtech carries out different activities to raise awareness, make visible and promote the careers of women in research and technology.
This includes the FEMtech Experts Database, where more than 2000 female experts from over 130 fields are registered. This makes it the most comprehensive database of female experts in Austria. With the experts database, FEMtech has been making women professionals visible and supporting their chances of success in their careers since 2005.
Another important activity is the FEMtech Expert of the Month award, which has also been in existence since 2005. An independent jury from research, business, human resources management and the media selects the female expert on the basis of three nominations. The FEMtech Expert of the Month is communicated in a press release by the BMK and receives an image video.
To support networking between women in technology and research FEMtech organises network meetings twice a year. These take place in Vienna and other locations in Austria. They inform about news from the funding focus and highlight current FEMtech topics. Afterwards, there is the opportunity for an informal exchange and for funding advice from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Childcare is also provided during each network meeting.
The BMK also funds FEMtech internships for female students of Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences. The aim is to offer female STEM students interested in research attractive internships at Austria’s innovative companies and non-university research institutions, thus facilitating their entry into a research career.