Women in Solar Energy (WISE) was started in 2011 by solar industry veteran Kristen Nicole who witnessed first-hand the impact of a lack of diversity in the solar energy industry.
After working closely at the intersection of the utility, financial and construction industries and seeing how the confluence of the cultures of these industries impacted the overall solar industry culture, Kristen saw a gap between the environmentally-driven solar industry she joined years earlier and the industry of today. Her female colleagues seemed to be dropping out of the industry in search for more supportive career environments, so she decided to take action.
The solar industry in the United States supports over 174,000 workers in all 50 states and is creating jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than employment growth in the overall economy. When we look at the cost of not including 50% of the US workforce, it's a serious opportunity cost.
It’s time for us all to step up and take responsibility to create an industry that supports long-term and challenging career opportunities for women and minorities, one that fuels our passions and is the foundation for our livelihoods for years to come. We would like to see an industry that is accessible to new comers and supportive of our existing labor force.
Women in Solar Energy is the networking center point of the solar energy industry, united towards a common goal of advancing women in all aspects of the solar energy industry and promoting diversity and forward thinking business practices in our community. We do this through education, capacity building, advocacy, strategic partnerships, networking and events.
WISE was founded on the idea that the collective power of the female community is massive, and if we can all work together, the end result can be revolutionary.
Our mission is to advance women in all aspects of the solar energy industry
According to The Solar Foundation's annual job census, the solar industry is generally diverse, but women and racial and ethnic minorities make up a smaller share of the solar workforce than in the overall U.S. economy.
IN 2013 SOLAR HAD A 28.23% POINT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WOMEN IN SOLAR COMPARED TO WOMEN IN THE BROADER US ECONOMY, BY FAR THE LARGEST GAP IN PERCENTAGE OF ABLE WORKERS BY COMPARISON.
At 21.6% in 2014, up from 18.7% the previous year, women are still largely underrepresented and their role in all aspects of the value chain cannot be underestimated. With the solar energy industry growing at a rate 20 times faster than the overall US economy, there are plenty of jobs and opportunities for women to capture a large portion of this booming industry.
The data gathered is only representative of the US solar market, at WISE we see a need to capture and track the gender employment trends and statistics for women globally. If you are interested in this effort, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only are there issues of diversity in the solar energy industry, but we believe solar is poised to lead the nation and the world in policies that support women and families. Check out the Department of Labor's new campaign to #LeadOnLeave.
What are your solar companies doing to encourage paid leave? Better maternity and paternity policies? Sick leave? Work-Life Balance?
Lets create the industry we want to work in and the world we want to live in.
Advice for Women in the Industry:
For more advice and mentorship support in the solar energy industry, please become a WISE member and visit WISEweb.