Interview with Katarzyna Rezza Vega

Expert Interview – May 17, 2023

The participation of women in the energy transition and in professions in the renewable energy sector is an important topic at The smarter E Europe. That is why this year, for the second time, there will be the “Women Energize Wome” conference there, organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) in collaboration with the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) as part of the BMWK Global Project "Bilateral Energy Partnership and Dialogues".

It will take place on June 15 from 10:30am–6:30pm at the ICM - International Congress Center Munich as a side event of The smarter E Europe 2023.

We spoke to Katarzyna Rezza Vega, Bilateral Energy Partnerships & Dialogues, Head of "Women Energize Women" at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH about what to expect at the 2023 conference.

Interview with Katarzyna Rezza Vega

Katarzyna Rezza Vega, Head of Women Energize Women

This year Women Energize Women will take place at the smarter E Europe. What is the current state and empowerment in the energy transition and the new "renewable" energy world?

The current state of women's participation in the energy sector exhibits a clear lack of gender equality worldwide. Globally only 22% of the workforce in the oil and gas sector and only 32% of the workforce in the renewables sector consist of women, according to the IRENA studies. Of these numbers, there are very few in management positions. For example, in the photovoltaic (PV) sector the share of women working in full-time positions is 40%. Nonetheless, most women in solar PV hold administrative jobs (58%). Only 30% of them work in managerial jobs and only 17% in senior management positions.

What can participants expect at this year's Women Energize Women? What topics will be the focus in 2023?

The 2nd “Women Energize Women” conference is the highlight of the communication initiative of the same name, which was launched in November 2021 to foster a gender equitable energy transition. The topic of this year’s conference is vital – it will focus on investment and financing strategies for renewable energies . In addition to talks and panels, the conference will feature educational workshops and opportunities for change makers to exchange and cooperate. The 2nd ‘Women Energize Women’ conference is being implemented on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) in partnership with the Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW) and within the scope of the Bilateral Energy Partnerships and Dialogues.

Which exciting projects, initiatives or organizations are part of Women Energize Women this year?

Last year’s WEW conference featured 250 women from over 50 countries who are experts in their respective fields, ranging from politics and industry to academia. We are excited to convene a brilliant group of international female experts again this year. We look forward to welcoming among the participants, among others, selected members of the mentoring program “Energizing Women to Advance the Energy Transition”, which is implemented by the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) in partnership with GIZ and on behalf of BMWK. Furthermore, a group of international female journalists – this year’s WEW media fellows – will partake as well as various delegations from all around the globe.

Who is the event aimed at? Who can participate and register?

The WEW conference features exclusively female speakers, as we aim to promote the visibility of women as innovation drivers and change makers – as well as, of course, their participation in the industry. However, we want to explicitly encourage people of all genders, including women, men, and non-binary persons, to register ! This conference is meant for all those who are enthusiastic about advancing a green and socially just energy transition.

Why should participants of the smarter E Europe 2023 attend the Women Energize Women Conference?

We chose to be a part of the smarter E Europe fair specifically to encourage the exchange and collaboration among energy experts from all around the world and address the topic of a gender-equitable energy transition. Today, over 12 million people are working in the renewable energy sector globally. This figure is supposed to rise to 42 million by 2050. Therefore, attracting and retaining not only male but also female talent in this sector is essential to ensuring a successful and speedy energy transition – and the ‘Women Energize Women’ conference is an excellent opportunity to do so.

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