ADIPEC 2021 Forum for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosts global discussions highlighting priorities for improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the energy sector. Industry expert Mariët Westermann, highlighted education as an essential tool to see diversity, equity and inclusion flourishing. Platforms such as the IEA Gender Initiative and the European Commission’s ‘Equality Platform For The Energy Sector’ pave the way for energy organisations to establish equitable strategies that will secure a diversified and inclusive workforce.
Setting the scene for an equitable future requires vision, accountability and action, according to energy leaders speaking on the final day of ADIPEC 2021 – the world’s largest and most influential energy industry event. Diversity, equity and inclusion is not achieved by using the same tools and practices repeatedly but instead by ensuring the policies in place satisfy the unique needs of every individual in the workforce.
The global energy industry convened at the ADIPEC 2021 Forum for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion today, placing Abu Dhabi at the centre of the discussions, to address the structural inequalities that the industry is facing and what is required to support organisations in creating equitable solutions that attract and retain talent, building a resilient and sustainable energy industry.
Speaking at the keynote address, Equity in education: powering young minds and fuelling the future, Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor, New York University Abu Dhabi, discussed the importance of equal opportunities and inclusive education and what can be done collectively to ensure access to effective and inclusive education opportunities.
She said: “It is a great sign of the decade that sustained discussion about diversity, equity, and inclusion are no longer outliers in any sector. There is an urgent need for human diversity to be treated as an asset if we are to have a sustainable future.
“While we have seen progress in this century for the inclusion of women and other marginalised communities, the goal of giving every human being free, equitable chances in life remains elusive. Persistent areas of inequality include job opportunities, compensation, health benefits, family leave, workplace culture and safety, advancement prospects, and leadership positions, to name a few.”
According to Westermann, inequalities are most apparent for gender gaps. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2015 have high aspirations for gender parity. The 5th SDG is the most comprehensive; to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030 – only eight years from now.
However, between 2015 and 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, little progress was made. Rates of female participation in the labour force remained at 64%. In professional jobs, improvement was marginally better, from a rate of employment from 71% to 73%. However, women remain massively underrepresented across sectors.
“Education is a bright spot and is an essential tool to see diversity, equity and inclusion flourishing at an individual and societal level and help create an equitable future,”
As the world focuses on creating a net-zero future, the role of diversity, equity and inclusion in the energy industry is taking on increasing importance. For example, the IEA Gender Initiative aims to help tomainstream diversity and inclusion in energy policymaking and develop a stronger understanding of gender balances throughout the energy sector and to shape the priorities for policy action in future decision-making. Similarly, the European Commission is establishing an Equality Platform for the energy sector to offer a space for discussion of issues relating to equality, facilitating exchanges of experiences and highlighting best practices.
Commenting, Christopher Hudson, President of dmg events, the organisers of ADIPEC, said: “Over the years, more companies have become increasingly involved in advocating diversity and inclusion. Although there is no roadmap to an effective strategy, it is without question establishing equitable strategies will help secure a diversified and inclusive workforce, aligned with the adoption of new capabilities as new digital technologies emerge and the energy transition progresses.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, ADIPEC concludes today, November 18, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). It is hosted by ADNOC and supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, the Abu Dhabi Chamber, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and the Department of Education and Knowledge.