There is a significant gender disparity in the district heating sector, which is predominantly male-dominated. For instance, the boards of 74% of Danish district heating companies consisted exclusively of men, according to a recent survey conducted by Dansk Fjernvarme and Pluss, an analytical institute. The study revealed an imbalanced gender distribution in commissions, committees, panels, and attendee lists at professional events. Former CTR Director Kamma Eilschou Holm has taken it upon herself to change this.
"The district heating sector draws its workforce from educational fields that have traditionally had predominantly male students. Therefore, there is a challenge in attracting and retaining women at all levels within the companies and organizations. The sector needs more women because tasks and decisions become significantly better and more robust when performed in collaboration across genders, but also to ensure an adequate workforce," states Kamma Eilschou Holm.
The driving force behind this effort is a new network called "District Heating Divas - Scandinavian." It offers mentoring programs, knowledge sharing, career counseling, and support for concrete initiatives in companies within the sector that aim to increase the proportion of women. While the participants primarily come from Denmark, the other Scandinavian countries are also represented.
Since January 2023, nearly 200 women have joined the network, and several companies, including Ramboll, are supporting the initiative.
"At Ramboll, we strongly focus on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, including achieving a balanced gender distribution. We fully support this initiative, which, by looking across the sector, will hopefully inspire us to increase the number of women working with district heating in our company," says Division Director Tina Kramer Kristensen, one of the few female leaders in the district heating industry. Tina serves on the board of DBDH (Danish Board of District Heating) and has recently been appointed to the government's NEKST working group, which aims to contribute concrete solutions to accelerate the rollout of green heating to Danish households.
The network will kick off with a conference at Ramboll on June 6, featuring former Minister of Climate and Energy, EU Commissioner, and current Chairman of the green think tank Concito, Connie Hedegaard, as the keynote speaker.
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