Invest in women’s success: International Women’s Day advice from women in renewables

The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day 2024 theme showcases the vital importance of investing in women to make progress

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Count her in: Invest in Women. Accelerate progress’. The theme shows that progress will only be possible if we invest in women’s careers and commit to dismantling barriers holding them – and all of us – back.  

This theme rings true for the renewable energy sector as we strive towards net zero and for global climate goals in general. As outlined in an ARENAWire post last year, Hillary Clinton made the point “It’s really clear that gender equality cannot any longer be an afterthought because it has to be seen as it is – which is a central driving factor in whether or not we’re going to meet our goals.”   

There are multiple paths towards greater gender representation. Anna Freeman, Director of Decarbonisation Policy for the Clean Energy Council (CEC), notes one effective level is women supporting each other through networking: ‘We’ve had the Women in Renewables program at the CEC for about seven or eight years now and it’s been tremendously successful and strongly supported by industry.’ 

Anna Freeman, Director of Decarbonisation Policy for the Clean Energy Council (CEC)
‘We need greater representation of women in the clean energy sector and in the energy workforce, full stop’ – Anna Freeman, Director of Decarbonisation Policy for the Clean Energy Council (CEC)


One path to investing in women and accelerating career progress includes dedicated mentorship and study, something the Clean Energy Council understands with its Chloe Munro Scholarship for Transformational Leadership. Named after the inimitable Chloe Munro AO, who pioneered and accelerated Australia’s renewables sector, the scholarship provides training for emerging and Executive-ready women leaders.  

As a proud partner in the Chloe Munro Scholarship, ARENA asked the current recipients what advice they have for other women in the sector.  

Woman to woman: in her words 


Maiken HansenAlways back yourself: Don’t underestimate the expertise you bring to the sector – make your presence felt and don’t be afraid to challenge other perspectives. The transition needs everyone! 
Maiken Hansen. Commercial Manager, Green Energy Partners 


Our industry is evolving daily, and your unique perspective is not only valued but essential. You don’t need to feel like decades of experience and a stereotypical identity are required to make a meaningful contribution. Your voice and actions carry weight, and with determination, you can make a remarkable impact.
Lara Panjkov
Senior Growth & Market Development Manager, Fluence 

Dr Madeline Taylor

Never stop the cycle of mentoring and being mentored. Our energy transition needs dynamic and innovative viewpoints. By actively engaging in mentorship, both giving and receiving, we pave the way for a more equitable energy transition while fostering a network of supportive women driving meaningful change to reach out net zero emissions goals.
Dr Madeline Taylor, Deputy Director, Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Innovation and Transformation (CENRIT)  and Co-Lead Energy Market Regulation and Acceptability, Transforming Energy Markets (TEM)  

There is a broad network of amazingly experienced women in the energy sector, who are only too willing to support emerging professionals and women in this space. Impacts of climate change overwhelmingly impact on women across the globe, and to successfully lean into the challenge ahead of us requires as much diversity of thought, experiences, and perspectives as possible. I would strongly encourage any women wanting to take part in the market for energy transformation to find their people – their mentors, advocates, peers, and advisors who can support you to having a meaningful impact, because the industry as a whole needs you!
Claire Whiteway, Director, Environment and Planning, Aurecon 

Manuela Londoño FerroStay true to yourself and your values. Celebrate your unique perspectives and experiences. Diversity drives innovation, and your voice matters in shaping the future of renewable energy.
Manuela Londoño Ferro, Business Development Lead, RayGen.  


It makes sense to invest in women, with tackling the gender employment gap an important priority. As Anna Freeman shares, “Women make up 39 per cent of the Australian clean energy workforce. While this is less than the total Australian workforce, it is better than the average for the global renewable energy industry”. 

Australia is a member of the global Equality in Energy Transition Initiative, which aims to reduce the gender employment gap and increase women’s participation in clean energy and the energy sector. Australia has contributed to the Equal by 30 plan, which aims to deliver equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities.  

That’s why we invest in women today and every other day – because we believe in women and the future.