Taiwan is leading the charge in establishing greater gender balance in its offshore wind industry, with women now accounting for 26% of the sector’s workforce, according to a new report, placing it ahead of the global average – 21% – and the Asia Pacific region – 15%.
The study, published by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in Taipei, also revealed that the country’s offshore wind industry has a high level of non-male representation at management level, with 95% of sector companies with female line-managers and 60% with directors who are women.
“Taiwan has been actively developing offshore wind power and positively responding to climate change in recent years. We are pleased to see high participation of women in this field, making Taiwan’s offshore wind industry more diverse and innovative,” Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs, in a statement.
Natalie Black, Britain’s trade commissioner for Asia Pacific, said the report, developed by the BCC’s Taipei Women in Business Committee and the UK Renewables Committee, “shone a light on the immense opportunities” for women in offshore wind.
“As the world focusses on tackling climate change, it is more important than ever to turn words into action and support not only this important sector but also the people who are ensuring we realise its potential. I am inspired by the women who are leading this crucial sector at every level,” said Black.
Marina Hsu, chairperson of the Taiwan Offshore Wind Industry Association, said: “A decade ago Taiwan’s offshore wind industry was just burgeoning and was widely dominated by men. Up until today, many still perceived it as an unsuitable sector for women.
“Today, many prominent leaders in the Taiwanese offshore wind industry are women. There has been a sea change in women’s representation in Taiwan, but we shall not be complacent, we shall know there is always work to be done to inspire, attract and retain more women in this sector.”
The report authors said the interviews carried out “indicate[d] that Taiwan offshore wind’s progressive status is due to high levels of social acceptance of women in leadership positions, a pool of strong female talent and the motivation of these women to work in a sector that benefits society”.
Despite there being a higher percentage of women in offshore wind in Taiwan than in other international markets, the report authors flagged that it is “still some way behind” other industries in the country.
“Women are still underrepresented in the wind industry and action is required,” they said, spotlighting “three key areas” for the industry to address that remain barriers to gender equality: the education of women in technology and engineering subjects; the promotion of careers in offshore wind for women; and improved policies to support women with families.
The study, sponsored by Taylor Hopkinson, was built on research with 38 companies active in the Taiwan offshore wind industry, including developers, turbine suppliers, contractors, manufacturers and engineering firms) and nine in-depth interviews with women at senior leadership level. Read the full report here.
A recent Recharge roundtable heard industry leaders call for the wind power industry to undertake immediate wide-ranging action to address a gender imbalance that has left the otherwise progressive sector lagging even oil & gas at a time when it needs a diverse workforce to meet its objectives in the energy transition.