FSR Women in the spotlight
This is the first installment of the Topic of the Month: FSR women in action
Writing the very first article of the year for the FSR Topic of the Month in January offers an incredible opportunity to act as a zip between the past and the future, by bridging the achievements in 2023 with the plans for 2024.
A privilege that I want to honour by highlighting our work on gender mainstreaming, channelled via our Lights on Women Project.
But the best proof of our work on gender and inclusion lays in the human dimension: the FSR is an incubator of great personalities, brilliant professionals and committed human beings.
This month, we want to spotlight the female side of this universe: our FSR Women in action! In the next weeks, you will meet only a small selection of these young women in action - those who have most recently joined the school – through a short article where they introduce themselves and their current work or field of research.
FSR Lights on Women: genesis and recent achievements
As many already know by now, the FSR Lights on Women initiative promotes women empowerment and leadership in energy, climate and sustainability since its launch in 2017. The project was informally launched as to encourage greater diversification in our fleet of speakers and instructors, and specifically aimed at raising the awareness of FSR scientific organisers and course directors when drafting the programme for our events and training courses.
Soon afterwards, we introduced scholarships to FSR courses – as to help women of all seniority levels and from all over the world, in their pursuit to gain knowledge and skills that would help them advance in their career. Over the years, we received more than 600 applications and granted free seats in our training courses to over 50 women professionals through our scholarships.
One of the most recent activities, which we’re particularly proud of, is the Energybase, a specific database dedicated to women working or studying in the energy, climate and sustainability sectors. This freely accessible platform aims to connect female talents on one side with companies/organisations on the other side and offers job vacancies but also educational and speaking opportunities. Energybase is an instrument helping talent seekers find diverse expertise as well as specific competences in the sectors, thanks to the deep granularity of the profiles. The Energybase, launched at the end of 2022, has steadily grown in 2023 till reaching 290 profiles.
In 2023, FSR Lights on Women continued to be a member of the DG ENER Equality Platform.. We proudly engaged in a dialogue with the Commission and the other members of the platform with the common scope to make the energy sector a more inclusive and balanced one. The next meeting of the Platform will be taking place in Florence, at the EUI premises, in May 2024.
But 2023 was first and foremost the year of the launch of our Lights on Women LUCE Awards.
The LUCE Awards celebrate two outstanding personalities in the energy sector in the categories of Emerging Talent (junior profile) and Legacy Women (senior profile).
The 2023 edition has awarded two outstanding women, Clara Poletti (Board of ACER and ARERA Commissioner) and Onyinye Anene-Nzelu, ENGIE team leader for the development of mini-grids in Nigeria (meet the 2023 LUCE Awards winners).
Energybase, LUCE Awards, blog, and scholarships have so far become the main pillars of our work under Lights on Women.
Still in 2023, FSR Lights on Women co-hosted a policy session at the Sustainable Energy week in Brussels, jointly with the EU Commission’s EIGE (EU Institute for Gender Equality) and Eurofound (EU Foundation for the improvement of Living and Working conditions), titled Stepping up: gender and intersectional perspectives towards a socially fair and just transition to low-carbon energy systems. The recording of the session is available here.
Finally, in November last year we received a call from EEAS (European External Action Service) to contribute to Shoktikonna (“Power Women”), a grassroots-led project to empower young women involved in the green energy transition in Bangladesh, and increase their engagement in the Energy and Power Sector, including access to employment and decision making positions. FSR was very pleased to respond to this call by providing two free online lectures to a group of about 60 young female engineers in Bangladesh who had been selected for this project.
Towards 2024: dedicated donorship and partnerships
The Florence School of Regulation will continue its commitment towards the achievement of a more gender balanced and fairer energy sector – starting from the small but meaningful steps that one can take in the daily work environment.
Building on this mission and values, we are working to expand the network and reach a broader audience, so that more women can benefit from our initiatives.
We have recently opened the possibility to support our Lights on Women with a to all companies and organisations, and we were very pleased to already welcome Landwaerme, Edison and GIE (already donors of the school) as our first FSR Lights on Women donors. The possibility to support Lights on Women is open to everyone.
Similarly, we’re engaging in strategic partnerships with international organisations sharing common values: CEER (Council of European Energy Regulators), ICER (International Confederation of Energy Regulators), and the EU-funded project gEneSys, run by a consortium of academic partners including the Italian CNR.
Their support will be essential to guarantee a continuum of our existing Lights on Women initiatives, such as the LoW blog or the Energybase. Besides, we hope to produce more editions of the newly launched series, which features video-interviews to outstanding female personalities who are consolidated role-models in the sector.
The first two interviews saw the light in 2023: the first one features Ditte-Juul Jorgensen, DG ENER Director General and the second – Anna Collyer, Chair of the Australian Energy Market Commission
It was a great honour for me to interview these two wonderful women and professionals, who gladly shared so much of their personal life and work experience – including the various challenges and learnings they encountered in their paths. The result is a very sincere and powerful dialogue, that hopefully will inspire the new generation of future energy leaders.