The CommUnity Days Interview: Gender Equality in the Energy Sector
Apr 30, 2019
Laura Broleri is a recent InnoEnergy MSc SELECT graduate and was a speaker at The CommUnity Days 2018. The CommUnity Post caught up with her to learn more about her work on gender equality in the energy sector.
David Duque Lozano (DDL) for the CommUnity Post
Laura Broleri (LB)
DDL: Laura thank you for joining us. You did a very interesting project about women’s empowerment in the energy sector. You worked with other 8 people in a project that lasted one year. Can you tell us more about this project?
LB: Thank you for inviting me! So, this project was specifically about women’s empowerment in the energy sector and you’re right, it lasted for a whole year. It started as a simple academic project, but it went on and it became a really interesting project with a tight collaboration with the UN’s initiative called “Sustainable Energy for All”. As you said, other 8 colleagues of mine worked with me, and we analyzed government policies, businesses policies and we tried to look at gender equality through the lens of entrepreneurship and this gave us a more complete understanding of the situation of gender equality in the sustainable energy sector, and of the challenges that women have to face within this sector.
DDL: I can imagine that as a woman you have a big interest in understanding what’s going on in the energy sector.
LB: Yes, definitely.
DDL: What drove you and what drove your team to actually continue working on this topic? Because it’s not something “normal” to research this topic in a technical program…
LB: Yes, absolutely, it is not usual, and it’s not perceived as “normal”. Many people actually asked me if I worked on this project as an engineer but, you know, when you are talking about people you must know that people do not react as numbers or chemical species! Of course, you have to look at these kinds of problems from a more social-science point of view. And this was not easy for me but the reason why me and my classmates did it, who were not only women in fact there were a lot of guys in the team, was the fact that we could all clearly see that there are limits in our sector that we have to beyond. For me personally, it has been a personal challenge and I wanted to see what businesses were and are doing to fix these problems and I wanted to understand what I could bring to the table to enhance the conditions of women within our sector but not limited to it. In fact, I believe that the energy sector can be the first in implementing some solutions to these issues and then other sectors could follow it.
DDL: That’s true and this is really inspiring. And you have a lot of passion and everyone’s can see this when you talk about this topic. Definitely within our community we also try to go on with the topic of sustainable energy which is complying with one of the sustainable development goals. How do you think us as a community focused on empowering change agents for sustainable energy contribute to empowering women in the energy sector?
LB: Well, you know, in our community, and I can say it because I, myself, am an active part of our community, you can see a lot of women. And what I think is that these women are not only engineers focusing on the development of sustainable energy, them, as women, are a fundamental part of women’s empowerment in our sector. So, our community is already beyond the average and we should focus on this trying to make our people aware of this fact, the fact that we are empowering the women of our community. As I stated in my presentation, the SGD 5 that tackles gender equality and the SDG 7 that aims at providing sustainable energy for all, they are clearly linked, and the can be brought forward together as they both contributes to sustainable development an they can definitely contributes to build a more sustainable economy.
DDL: Laura, thank you very much, it has been really inspiring to listening to you, and thank you for your amazing speech.