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RUK Shadow Board, personal reflections on what IWD 2024 means to us and what we believe #inspiringinclusion means to renewables.

Updated: Mar 8



This International Women's Day the RenewableUK Shadow Board are reflecting on what #inspiringinclusion means to us and the crucial ways we have been supported in our careers, as well as our hope for the future and what we can do to strive for greater inclusion.



• Emma Waterhouse, Legal Counsel, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

With the exception of Emma in Law, we all experienced the stark lack of women within the industry either during training where we may have been made to feel ‘different’, or early on in our careers being one of only a few women in the office or at industry events. Working offshore for several years, Nicola recalls regularly being on vessels of 30+ crew as the only female which initially was certainly intimidating whilst Anne-Charlotte laughs now at having to use her sewing skills to ensure her oversized overalls were not a trip hazard. 









Since then, we have all seen significant improvement in gender diversity in our industry, addressing the challenging questions around the underrepresentation of women with a range of ‘Women in STEM’ initiatives making careers within our industry less ‘unusual’ for women.  We are not alone in this effort and there are positive examples in the aerospace and tech industries  celebrating alternative routes into STEM education.

Victoria stresses how crucial it is that we strive to grow our community, broaden our perspectives and acknowledge the significance of inclusivity.



• Victoria Sinclair, Head of Supply Chain Development Copenhagen Offshore Partners (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners)

For me, this means going beyond traditional educational backgrounds and appreciating the insights that individuals from diverse vocations offer. Despite being a tight-knit industry, we must resist recruiting from familiar circles and unintentionally missing out on a fantastic pool of talent.’  










• Nicola Harris, Associate Director- Environmental Services, Seiche Ltd

With clear progress on attracting women into the industry, it is vital to keep them and improve statistics around women in Senior Roles. Emma and Nicola both share that they made strategic career moves to enable them to be in a better position to manage family life.  This is clearly reflected in the Solicitors Regulation Authority statistics which, as of 24 January 2024, show 62% of solicitors are women but drops to 47% for salaried partners and only 32% of full-equity partner positions are held by women. We can all account for the challenges women face particularly around family life and its easy to see why women in Senior roles are still very much underrepresented.  







Emma reflects on the heart-breaking details around the passing of Vanessa Ford to show how challenging the legal industry can be for women who want to start a family, get that pie in the sky “work-life balance”, whilst still working full time and pursuing a career they can look back on and be proud of.  



• Lynne McIntosh-Grieve, Programme Manager, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult / OWGP,

Two of the Shadow Board members are currently experiencing their first pregnancy. Emma and Lynne both feel fortunate that, the reaction of their employers, and new colleagues at RenewableUK has been entirely positive and supportive. Emma shares;


In what can be (and has certainly been for me) quite a scary and challenging time, the relief in knowing I am supported from all directions in my career has allowed me to continue to perform to a high level in my job and focus on the excitement of what is ahead. I feel incredibly lucky”.  







• Anne-Charlotte Gaillard, Project Manager Offshore Developments at SSE Renewables

Luck however shouldn’t have anything to do with it. So, on this International Women’s Day, take “luck” out of the equation, and we challenge you all to look at those around you (not just women) who are going through big changes in their private lives and ask yourself,


“Am I doing what I can to support them and make their career something they still can and want to prioritise?”.



On the whole, we can agree that progress for women's inclusion has been inspiring and it has developed a strong community of women with shared experiences that can build more than just networking relationships, it gives us a joyful work experience which importantly retains us in the industry.  As the women of the RUK Shadow Board we hope to support each other (particularly those of us with exciting new additions to juggle) and our fellow underrepresented colleagues in this industry.  We also look forward to creating opportunities to attract the strong and diverse profiles that the industry needs to deliver the incredible future of Renewable Energy.   



Ends.



Victoria Sinclair, Chair of RUK Shadow Board, Head of Supply Chain Development Copenhagen Offshore Partners; Emma Waterhouse, Senior Legal Counsel, Siemens Gamsea; Nicola Harris, Associate Director – Environmental, Seiche; Anne-Charlotte Gaillard, Project Manager, SSE Renewables & Vice Chair of RUK Shadow Board and Lynne McIntosh-Grieve, Programme Manager – Offshore Wind Growth Partnership.

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