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Gender Equity Can Drive Business Competitiveness

Elsa Bernal - REDMEREE


Perla Velasco By Perla Velasco | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 11:06

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Q: How will increasing female representation in organizational leadership positions contribute to creating innovative projects in the energy sector?

A: I recently had the privilege of participating in the Energy Dialogue Forum in Berlin, where I gained a valuable understanding of the global energy landscape. While Mexico has largely focused on photovoltaic and wind power, other regions of the world are pursuing cutting-edge developments, such as hydrogen technology and next-generation bladeless wind turbines that produce minimal noise. This highlights the need for a more expansive and inclusive dialogue on technical topics, which should identify frontier issues on a global scale.

Despite the pandemic and the resulting industrywide decline, we must continue to strive for dialogue that transcends local interests and incorporates a global perspective. It is essential to understand that to stay ahead of the curve, we must constantly seek to learn and apply knowledge from around the world, not just within our national borders. Our participation in the Energy Alliance is a testament to this commitment.

Smart cities are emerging in other parts of the world, while we are still grappling with creating awareness at the societal and industrial levels. These insights have motivated us to reassess our energy conceptualization and we must work together to integrate the perspectives of women, who are increasingly relevant in the energy sector and its decision-making processes. The challenge of increasing female representation in organizational leadership positions must be confronted head on. By promoting gender diversity, we can create innovative projects that leverage the unique perspective of women, thereby building new realities that benefit everyone.

Q: What methods are companies using to measure and evaluate gender diversity and inclusion and how are these metrics influencing business strategies and investment decisions?

A: Incorporating women into work teams at all levels is not merely a trendy organizational practice but a strategic business move. Notably, some leading organizations have developed their own metrics to gauge gender diversity, such as Bloomberg's rating system. Companies that share their information with Bloomberg receive a rating that is also factored into their investment rating. Bloomberg's report helps companies identify which organizations have more female representation and deeper business practices that enable women to participate and be visible, which correlates with lower risks of debt in organizations. These ratings have been growing exponentially, indicating that companies are committed to gender inclusion and non-discrimination, and are using recognized mechanisms to achieve these goals.

Managing gender and inclusion within organizations is crucial and must be treated with the same level of importance as managing a company's quality. With the rapid growth of companies, many are now focusing on professionalizing gender and inclusion issues in-house. Failure to act within five years may result in companies being left behind. It is becoming increasingly necessary to adopt best practices and meet the demands of large clients and companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion. As part of a supply chain, companies may be required to demonstrate the presence of at least one female director and failure to meet this requirement may result in a loss of supplier status. This trend is more prevalent among large companies listed on the stock exchange, as indexes now reward those with mature policies. As such, our best customers are likely to request evidence of good practices and may require us to participate in gender training programs.

Q: What steps should companies take to ensure the effective implementation of a gender perspective in their management system? 

A: One key action that companies can take to advance gender equality is to formalize a gender perspective within their management system. This system requires dedicated personnel, resources and management authorization to ensure that it is implemented effectively. Relying solely on good intentions and isolated acts is not enough, as these approaches tend to be more costly and less effective than a comprehensive management system.

To ensure that efforts toward gender equality are recognized and rewarded, they need to be carried out in a formal and professional manner that is aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization. For example, the gender pay gap presents an opportunity for companies to review their organizational processes to assess how each job description and indicator affects the overall high-level strategy. These activities can be conducted within a system that reviews processes within the organization, allowing for more effective execution of better options that promote equality and prevent discrimination against minorities.

Overall, by implementing a comprehensive gender perspective in their management system, companies can make meaningful progress toward gender equality, while improving their overall strategic alignment and performance.

REDMEREE is a Mexican nonprofit that promotes gender equality in the renewable energy and energy efficiency segments, empowering women for a sustainable future.

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