March is Women’s History Month, and also includes International Women’s Day. At EHRC, we wanted to celebrate the individual women and organizations that are committed to fostering places where women can thrive in the electricity sector.
This year on International Women’s Day we welcomed two milestones in our
Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity. The African Women in Energy Development Initiative became our first international advocate, and the City of Ottawa became a signatory, making them our 100th participant!
Leading up to this momentous day, we took some time to check in with some women in diverse fields across the sector in our signatory companies. We asked them, what does it mean to you to be a woman working in the electricity sector in 2021?
Tina Young, Red Seal electrician “Being a woman in the electrical trade for the past 11 years has been one of the most empowering and rewarding experience of my life. My mission is to inspire women to join me in a mostly male dominated trade. I hope we can work together to make this number drastically change for upcoming female apprentices. Only 3% of electricians are females. It should not be He or She, let’s work together and make it WE. We’re stronger in numbers.”
Susan Uthayakumar, Schneider Electric “At Schneider Electric, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are viewed as enablers of growth and innovation and are woven into the fabric of the company rather than being driven by HR alone. This allows us to create a safe space for employees to bring their best selves to work and their diverse ideas to the table, while reflecting the customer base we serve. Being a woman in leadership in this field means that I can be the champion of change and drive progress in meaningful ways and help shape an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all. I have benefited from having great mentors who have helped me forge my own career path, and I try to pay it forward by supporting and mentoring others, encouraging more females to enter STEM, and participating in industry organizations that are focused on building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. I believe that businesses play a critical role in fostering more inclusive and empowering work-places, and leaders and managers, both men and women, must actively champion DEI initiatives to accelerate growth in this area.”
Sharleen Gatcha, Women+Power “At a time when there is so much uncertainty, I feel fortunate that there continues to be so many opportunities for women to succeed in the electricity sector. Despite this, we must acknowledge that significant challenges still exist for women in the workplace, many of which have been further exacerbated by COVID. Women+Power was created to support women and working in and with the power industry, along with the men who support us as allies, and we are seeing first-hand that it is critically important for women to connect, even in a virtual environment, to share experiences and motivate each other during uncertain times. I am hopeful that together we can weather the pandemic and develop even greater resiliency so that we can continue to push for the change that is needed to address the challenges.”
Sarah Hughes, Energy+ Inc. “Excited for the future of the electricity industry as it transforms and embraces more diversity. Proud to be leading the way and inspiring future women leaders! Thankful for the opportunity to work with such great women!”
Nicole Boisvert, SkyFire Energy “Renewable Energy and the electricity sector was not an industry I ever considered working in but have come to learn what a difference this industry makes for humankind. Female leadership is greatly needed and I would be happy to see many more women using their tremendous talents to make a difference.” Working in this sector in 2021 means taking on a leadership role that is both challenging and rewarding.”
Marianne Dent, ENWIN Utilities Inc “As a woman working in the electricity sector in 2021, I have the great fortune of a dynamic, challenging and rewarding career. In a field that is male dominated today, I feel included as part of a team that is continuously evolving, learning and working together to provide essential services to the community we serve. I am proud to be a woman in this field and strive to inspire other women and girls to learn more about non traditional roles, the electricity sector and the opportunity to serve the community.”
Alicia Couto, SkyFire Energy “I am excited to be a part of the paradigm shift that is happening in the electricity sector and to inspire other women who are passionate about this industry.”
Lana Norton, Women of PLT “The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of our energy systems. To build our energy future we must strive to have all voices at the table. Diversity of voices will be our strength.”
Jane Hale-McDonald, Energy+ Inc “With embracing the work, the challenge, the opportunities I believe you can, and we have been able to make a change, both big and small, we have made a difference within the electrical sector. This opens opportunities for others – women must embrace and support diversity and inclusion for a real difference to be made. “
Alison Thompson, Borealis Geopower “Focusing on our B Corp’s mission, which is to use the business (and industry) as a force for good, resonates with me as a woman. For example, pursuing renewable, geothermal electricity has led to many positive side-benefits such as rural job creation, youth engagement and support for energy projects, skills and technology transfer opportunities from the oil & gas sector, and an awareness that geothermal heat can be used as a substitute for electricity-based heating, thus freeing up the grid for other users who don’t have local renewable heat resources.”