I really glad this has been brought into sharper focus in the recent past, but these stats show just how far we have to go. Since working with energy storage developer Arenko, who have a big push for diversity in their business, we've paid ever more attention to this issue of gender imbalance. Of course, when you focus on an issue, the depth of the problem becomes clear. As a sector we really need to embrace diversity in all its forms, Innovation, drive, intelligence and creativity are not the exclusive reserve of white straight men!! Diversity improves all of us, as leaders, employers, employees and as humans. We need to keep the focus on the issue, but most importantly, we need to make the sector a welcoming place for talent, wherever that talent is from.
Bias against women can be insidious. It can take subtle forms—from tendencies to acknowledge only males in meetings, to having males get credit for female-originating ideas, to passing over females for promotions. During a recent questioning of energy chiefs by House of Commons’ MPs on the impact of a price cap, the Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach said, “I am quite struck by the panel. We have four men here.” Sandbach also asked the retail chief executive of SSE, Stephen Forbes, to defend that company’s 19.4% gender pay gap. He faltered in his response.