Megan Wheatley has worked in energy and sustainability for almost two decades, both in Australia and overseas. Keen for the sector to achieve a stable policy environment, Senvion Australia’s manager – communications and external affairs says she wants to play a role in helping build support for wind energy through communication and community engagement activities.
What attracted you to the renewable energy industry?
Moving to a clean energy future is one of the most significant and important challenges of our times. I am genuinely thrilled to be working for a wind farm company and being part of the solution. The renewable energy industry is a great sector, not just for women, but for thoughtful, future-thinking people more generally. Given the urgent imperative to increase renewable generation, it would be a shame if we missed out on the skills and knowledge of 50 per cent of the population.
Why do you think there is such a gender imbalance in the clean energy sector?
The energy sector has historically been a male-dominated profession. This can be quite intimidating for young people who are exploring what they want to do in their studies and careers. There is a long way to go to encourage more women into the clean energy industry – and I believe this needs to start early by providing opportunities and role models for our school kids. The Clean Energy Council’s Women in Renewables is a terrific initiative – and I have been very impressed by the events I have attended. However, I think there needs to be more men coming along to these events as the discussions are relevant to our entire sector.
How can the renewable energy industry attract more skilled women?
Senvion has a range of other initiatives that it is working on. For example, this year we worked with an intern from Melbourne University’s Robogals network to run an event for Year 10 girls to experience life as an engineer in a wind farm company. All clean energy companies can do more to attract and develop female talent. Organisations need supportive policies to both recruit and retain talented women.
How do you see the future of women in renewables?
I am personally very proud that my six-year old daughter is outraged if anyone tells her that a particular job is not for girls. I think that attitude bodes well for the future, and is hopefully a sign of things to come.
The Clean Energy Council ran its inaugural Developing Women Directors scholarship program in 2016. Find out more about what the Council is doing to encourage women in the renewable energy industry.