Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Middle East Solar Power Association has formed the Women in Solar initiative to encourage greater female participation in solar energy. Silvia Razgova / The National
The Middle East Solar Power Association has formed the Women in Solar initiative to encourage greater female participation in solar energy. Silvia Razgova / The National

Middle East group pushes for more women in renewable energy

The solar power field has been dominated by men, but a professional organisation is encouraging more women to follow the career path.

abu dhabi // Women are being urged to consider a career in the male-dominated solar energy business.

The Middle East Solar Power Association has formed the Women in Solar initiative to encourage greater female participation.

The group has launched a mentoring programme and are organising events that feature women who have climbed the solar-power career ladder.

Encouraging more women to join the ranks would benefit the industry, said Michelle Davies, the head of clean energy and sustainability at a global corporate law firm, Eversheds, and a member of the Women in Solar advisory board.

“The industry will gain by having access to a wider group of talented people,” she said.

Besides increasing the pool of skilled people competing for jobs, encouraging more women to enter the field will help foster diversified perspectives, said Dalya Al Muthanna, a member of the advisory board and a director at GE Power & Water.

“This is always an advantage, in any industry,” said Ms Al Muthanna, who handles market development in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “Diversity has always been a tool to foster innovation, to challenge ideas.”

Both women agreed that the industry was male-dominated. At GE, for example, there are 260 men in engineering and technology positions but only 48 women.

“This is something we see not only in renewables but also across the engineering sector,” Ms Al Muthanna said.

Ms Davies said the ratio was starting to even out in some parts of the world “but in the Middle East it is something that needs to be worked on”.

“It probably goes quite far back to the approach in schooling,” she said, where men are often encouraged to follow engineering and science paths, while women are steered towards the humanities.

As more governments in the region are considering clean energy, the clean and sustainable energy field will offer good career paths, Ms Davies said.

“For men and women now is a fantastic time to be getting involved in renewables,” she said.

“We are now beginning to see a commitment in the UAE to a proper and sustainable renewable energy programme.”

Countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are also showing potential.

“Clearly the biggest market is Saudi Arabia but its policy is really in the process of being determined,” Ms Davies said. “Many of our clients see Saudi Arabia as the most attractive market for renewables in the world.

“The region offers huge opportunities but the policy has to be clarified.”


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An tenant in the Al Barsha area of Dubai has been sent a non-renewable contract by the landlord. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Dubai landlord refuses to pay back Rera fees after losing rent case

Keren Bobker helps a tenant who wants to know how to reclaim his RERA case fees and who has also been sent a contract with a “one-year nonrenewable” note.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 A customer looks at a large mock-up of videogame console Game Boy.  Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP Photo

Nintendo’s Game Boy at 25: hand-held legacy lives on

Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary Monday with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inspire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National