Expanding the Green job market
In a proactive move to foster gender inclusivity in the expanding green job market, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has taken to social media, emphasizing the crucial role of women, especially in the technology sector, as Central Asia embraces the shift toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly economy.
According to ADB’s social media post, women comprise only 20 percent of the global energy workforce. However, the impending surge in job opportunities resulting from the green transition presents a unique chance to challenge the existing gender norms, especially in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
In 2018, the International Labour Organization foresaw the potential for a monumental shift toward a greener economy, projecting the creation of 24 million jobs globally by 2030 with the right policies in place. This projection raises a crucial question: Will the anticipated job surge narrow or widen the existing gender gap in labor force participation?
Even before the projected job boom, women were already underrepresented in occupations critical for the green transition, particularly in Central and West Asia. Statistics reveal that women constitute only 20 percent of the global energy workforce and 11 percent of top executives in the worldwide oil and gas industry.
The transition to green employment poses a challenge, with only 62 women per 100 men considered as “green talent” in 2021, a statistic that has remained stagnant since 2015. This stagnation underscores significant gender disparities in the broader energy sector’s workforce and leadership levels.
Empowering Women in the Transition to Green Jobs
The green transition provides a unique opportunity to transform the narrative for women from vulnerability to active agents of change. It opens doors for women to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors, especially in the burgeoning renewable energy market and other technology and innovation sectors.
The first crucial step involves championing gender equity and emphasizing the added value of women in technology sectors like energy, transport, or telecommunications. This necessitates a mindset shift among government and business leaders.
Empowering women in technology-related roles demands concerted efforts to develop their capacities, equip them with requisite skills, and expand their career opportunities.
Overcoming stereotypes is essential to empowering women by allowing them to pursue diverse roles and careers without being confined by traditional expectations. Addressing gender stereotypes is instrumental in fostering a more equitable and inclusive society.
The CAREC Program, through its Gender Strategy 2030, provides a regional approach to improving gender mainstreaming and strengthening equal access to economic opportunities. Initiatives include:
- Supporting female entrepreneurs.
- Improving access to green financing.
- Creating economic opportunities through training in technology and innovation.
Promoting regional cooperation through women’s professional networks is crucial. The Women in Business Online Community Platform connects women professionals, offering guidance, inspiration, and knowledge exchange.
Encouraging more women to pursue education related to the low-carbon transition, particularly in STEM fields, is imperative.
While challenges persist, increasing women’s presence in green jobs across technology sectors presents a dual opportunity—providing more employment opportunities for women and meeting the demand for labor during a green transition, contributing to more inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the CAREC region.
This advocacy by the Asian Development Bank underscores the importance of empowering women in Central Asia’s journey toward a greener and more sustainable future. The anticipated job surge catalyzes positive change, emphasizing the role of women as pivotal contributors to the region’s economic and environmental well-being.
Photo Courtesy: ADB
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