Women+Power Partners With WiRE

October 23, 2020

Women+Power is proud to announce that we have partnered with Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE)!

“Women+Power is excited to collaborate with WiRE. WiRE’s mission to advance the role and recognition of women working in the energy sector is at the heart of why Women+Power was created – to provide opportunities for members to connect with, support, inspire and recognize women to empower them to achieve their full potential both professionally and personally,” says Sharleen Gatcha, Founder & CEO.

Launched in 2013, WiRE forges partnerships with government agencies and a spectrum of renewable energy industry associations, other related networking groups for professional women from across the energy sector, and academic providers.

WiRE’s mission is to advance the role and recognition of women working in the energy sector. Inclusive of all renewable energy and clean technologies, WiRE’s programming includes capacity-building field trips, networking meet-ups, an awards recognition program, student bursaries, speed mentoring and more.

In a statement provided by Joanna Osawe, President & CEO of WiRE she stated, “We look forward to partnering with Women+Power to develop opportunities to further support women working in the power sector in Alberta.”

Pathways to Gender Equity: Why Male Allies are so Important

In May 2020, Women+Power Board member and Events & Programs Committee Chair, Elaina Eifler, spoke on a panel to launch Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity Reportwhich summarizes research conducted by Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). EHRC works to strengthen the ability of the Canadian electricity industry to meet the current and future needs of its workforce. To help the sector do this, EHRC completes in-depth labour market intelligence research specifically about the industry and the Leadershift Report is the latest piece of research.

The Leadershift Report confirms what many women in Alberta’s electricity sector already know: despite good intentions and investments in programs to increase women’s representation, the pace of change has been slow. The report is full of excellent examples and suggestions for specific actions that can be taken to advance diversity in organizations. 

To bring the data and insights to life, seven senior male leaders in the electricity sector were profiled to explore the influences and impacts of men’s direct participation in diversity strategies and initiatives for the empowerment of women. They demonstrate the impact of active, day-by-day, persistent involvement of male leaders as allies and advocates. Each of them describes the experiences that helped them become personally more aware of the challenges women face in the workplace. They have translated that awareness into behaviours that make a difference, such as: addressing unconscious bias, creating a more welcoming workplace for women, using equity and meritocracy to advance women’s careers, cascading the messaging throughout the organization, building the trust required for flexible work arrangements, navigating style differences between women and men, and sponsoring women for growth opportunities. 

The Leadershift Report provides evidence of the importance of male allies to drive change across the industry. “A commonly highlighted strategy for driving change…is to encourage senior leaders and managers to be champions of diversity. While it is important to have both men and women leaders committed to diversity, in male-dominated industries, male participation and commitment to gender equality is essential.”

So how do organizations get started? The Leadershift Report provides several thought-provoking and actionable recommendations aimed at creating gender equity in Canada’s electricity sector. To learn more, you can access the report and a recording of the launch (and Elaina’s presentation) right here!

In the panel discussion, Elaina outlined two main challenges in response to a question about the challenges organizations and leaders are having at the moment to improve on women’s representation at the leadership level: the number of women and mindsets and beliefs that limit actions to improve gender equity. 

The number of women in the electricity industry is low: just 26% of the workforce compared to a pool of 46% in the Canadian workforce. This lack of representation overall results in fewer women in the pipeline for senior leadership positions.

The mindsets discussed in the Leadershift Report were the most profound part of the study. Key findings revealed that men and women are not on the same page when it comes to how each gender views their ability to be successful in the workplace, the impact of gender and diversity measures in relation to their own career opportunities, and whether or not the diversity and inclusion problem is nearly solved. 

The findings have wide-ranging implications with courses of action for individuals and organizations across the sector. Build awareness and support by communicating on a personal level, with candor and openness to difficult discussions. Spread the discussions across the organization—everywhere and every day, if needed. Implement best practices, and then measure and report on the progress achieved and the benefits gained. Realize that change for women implies changes for men. With those changes come the challenges of confronting longstanding behaviour patterns of women and men but also the benefits of a more equitable and inclusive environment for all. 

The insights from this research drive home the need to accelerate progress. To begin, it appears that we are still falling short on creating a shared understanding of our sector’s gender reality. Many of our organizations have instances of longstanding gaps in practices and in women’s representation that must be addressed. Nonetheless, we also have good momentum, pockets of great practices, and inspiring success stories to build upon. The current dramatic shifts in our industry increase the need for change and present an opportunity for change. We must, and can, move resolutely now to more fully leverage the leadership talent of women.

Advocating for EHRC’s Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity

Developed by Electricity Human Resources Canada, the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity (the Accord) is a public commitment by employers, educators, unions, and governments to promote the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion throughout their work. Through recruitment, retention, career progression, and training and development, all Accord signatories are committed to improving opportunities for women in the Canadian workplace. The signatories to the Accord recognize and confirm united action to expand the breadth and depth of the skilled workforce by ensuring that women are informed of the opportunities available to them. Once employed, these women are fully supported and provided with equal opportunities to grow and develop to their full potential.

Employers, unions, and educational institutions agree to make the commitment to increase the representation of women in their programs and organizations. Signing the Accord is the first step in a long-term process. The commitments outlined in the Accord guide companies through the process of instituting new practices by involving all of their employees and partners in these actions. This will be achieved through a range of initiatives that organizations will approach or develop based on their individual circumstances and strategic HR plans.

It is the premise of the Accord that to effect systemic change, a bold vision is required by industry leaders.

“As an advocate for this Accord, our organization fully supports EHRC’s initiative,” says Sharleen Gatcha, Founder and CEO of Women+Power. “In becoming an advocate, we are dedicated to advancing the role of women in Canadian workplaces by engaging in outreach, promotion, and communications with our constituencies about the Accord and its key commitments. At the same time, we will encourage them to become official signatories. We are thrilled to stand alongside nearly 100 advocates and signatories across Canada that are committed to making a difference!”

Our Commitment to Equal by 30 Principles

September 30, 2020

Women+Power is proud to announce that we have formally made our commitment to upholding the principles of the Equal by 30 Campaign designed to encourage public and private sector organizations to work towards equal pay, equal leadership, and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030. The Equal by 30 Campaign asks companies and governments to endorse principles and take concrete actions to help close the gender gap.

Through this campaign, leadership from across the energy sector is being brought together to galvanize action and help all players – from private sector companies to governments at all levels. We are taking action together.

As a non-profit organization, Women+Power agrees to uphold the Public Sector high-level principles.

  1. We aim to lead by example by taking concrete steps to promote gender equality so that our lessons can serve as an example for others to follow.
  2. We aim to integrate a gender lens into all levels of our work, mainstreaming gender equality into our organizational culture and processes.
  3. We will set high standards for the recruitment, promotion, and participation of women, adopting more rigorous requirements where necessary.
  4. We will report regularly within our organizations and to the public so that progress is measured, visible, well-communicated, and we are fully accountable to our citizens.

“Our decision to commit to the Equal by 30 Campaign was an easy one since the underlying principles so closely align with Women+Power’s core objective to create a more diverse and inclusive power industry,” says Sharleen Gatcha, Founder & CEO. “We look forward to partnering with Equal by 30 to promote gender equality and will share information regarding the campaign.”

EHRC Partners with Women+Power

A Partnership to Support Women Working in Alberta’s Electricity Sector

July 30, 2020

As part of our commitment to promoting transformational change in Alberta’s power industry by increasing representation of women at all organizational levels, Women+Power has partnered with Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). EHRC is a non-profit organization supporting the human resources needs of the Canadian electricity and renewable energy sector and is committed to supporting women and gender equity across the electricity sector.

EHRC has resources to support gender equity in electricity, including the Leadership Accord for Gender Diversity, Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity and Illuminate Opportunity: Equity in the Workplace. Partnering with Women+Power provides EHRC an opportunity to help deliver these resources locally in Alberta, with the in-person support from a community of women.

Creating pathways to success for women in electricity is something that EHRC’s CEO, Michelle Branigan, is very familiar with. “Bringing more women into electricity takes work at all levels, from the boardroom down to the front line. We’re all in this together; working with organizations like Women+Power and their community is a way to directly support women in the sector.”

“Women represent just a quarter of Alberta’s power industry. Through the power of community we believe we can work together to address the challenges that result in and from the under-representation of women in the power industry so we can begin to develop opportunities to promote increased diversity and inclusion.” Sharleen Gatcha, Founder & CEO of Women+Power said. “I’ve worked in electricity for most of my career during which I have personally experienced many gender-based challenges. At Women+Power we know first-hand that having a community of support can make all the difference in succeeding. EHRC’s support is going to make a meaningful difference, providing Women+Power with the capability to provide opportunities to connect and develop resources and programs that will enable transformational change.”

This partnership will provide a way for both organizations to make a larger impact on women working in electricity, both in Alberta and beyond. Look for collaborative work and events between EHRC and Women+Power in the months to come.

It’s about time!

Sharleen Gatcha
Founder, Women+Power

June 1, 2020

We waste time. We kill time. We save time. Time can be on our side or we can have bad timing. We rob and get robbed of time, and we lose time. Time can be our enemy or our friend. We are told to manage our time wisely. Time flies. Sometimes, it may seem as though time stands still and yet other times, we have all the time in the world. But no one of us is powerful enough to stop the march of time or slow it down: time waits for no (wo)man.

And so, it seems this is where we stand; in week ten of the COVID-19 pandemic and still uncertainty remains over how much longer we will have to maintain continued restrictions on social distancing and remote working conditions. We are encouraged to wait and see what time will tell. Does time heal everything? I am sure many of you have experienced days when time seemed to pass so slowly and yet it is hard to believe that we have been in this situation for more than 2 months.

It was the result of unfortunate circumstances that the networking event planned for Women+Power at the IPPSA Conference in Banff on March 16 had to be cancelled just days before it was scheduled to take place when the Government of Alberta announced restrictions on the number of individuals allowed in gatherings and soon after COVID-19 was deemed a global pandemic. One could say time was not on our side and, in our case, time changes everything!

Given how quickly the pandemic escalated, Women+Power decided to put our plans to launch our website on hold and determine when it would be appropriate to proceed. We wanted to recognize and respect that the environment for many of us had fundamentally changed and that it would take time for everyone to adjust and adapt to a ‘new normal’ (as we have heard so many times over the past several weeks). We hope that everyone has had the opportunity to do just that and you are staying safe and healthy.

We are very excited to share our vision for Women+Power and start communicating our plans, and we feel that now is the time. To this end, we are launching our new brand and website. For now, you can find us on LinkedIn and at www.womenpower.ca. Soon we hope to add other social media channels.

At this time would like to invite women and men working in and with the power industry in Alberta to join our community and become a member by visiting the ‘Join Us!’ page on our website and completing the registration form. In addition, we would appreciate your help spreading the word by sharing our news about Women+Power with your network.

Me and the dedicated Board at Women+Power are hopeful this will kickstart the beginning of transformational change in the electricity industry, and for that we say ‘It’s about time!’

Women+Power provides new forum for industry professionals

Women+Power is pleased to have been featured in the May newsletter provided to members of the Industrial Power Producers Society of Alberta (IPPSA). We have received special permission from IPPSA to share this article and would like to express our gratitude to IPPSA for providing this opportunity to Women+Power.

IPPSA provides a forum for dialogue among Alberta’s power producers and seeks to ensure members have the opportunity to earn a fair return on their investments. IPPSA is an association representing all of Alberta’s major power producers. To learn more about IPPSA and the services they offer, please visit their website: http://www.ippsa.com/

ENMAX and Women+Power

ENMAX is a diverse electricity and energy services company involved across all areas of the electricity value chain. ENMAX Power Corporation owns and operates transmission and distribution infrastructure in Calgary, and ENMAX Energy Corporation owns various generation facilities throughout Alberta. Through our subsidiaries, we offer a range of innovative energy solutions to more than 674,800 customers across the province including electricity, gas, renewable energy and other services.

Diversity in our workplace is equally as important. To us, it’s about removing barriers and building an environment of inclusion, where everyone belongs and is celebrated for who they are. ENMAX is proud of our commitment to promoting diversity in all forms, and in 2017, we signed up to the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity, a public commitment by Canadian employers, educators, unions and governments to promote gender diversity within their organizations.We’re proud to be a founding sponsor of Women+Power. Together, we can remove barriers and advance inclusivity and diversity in our sector by empowering women and creating opportunities for support, connection and representation. 

Learn more about ENMAX>>