Empowering women to create a greener world

Female offshore wind technician on vessel
The United Nation’s call to action for International Women’s Day this year is “Invest in Women: Accelerate progress.” 

At Ørsted, we stand whole-heartedly behind that rallying cry. 

As a renewable energy company with a vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy, we strongly believe that investing in women and empowering them will help us achieve our ambitions. 

The energy industry has traditionally been a male-dominated field. But we recognize that diversity drives the kind of innovative thinking we need to tackle climate change and accelerate the green energy transition. 

That’s why we have a gender diversity target of at least 40% women across all of Ørsted by 2030, and we recruit and advance women from within our own ranks. 

In honour of International Women’s Day, we asked some of the women of Ørsted about their careers on the frontlines of the green energy transition. 

How does gender equality benefit the renewable energy industry? How has Ørsted helped them excel in their career? And what others can do to empower women in the industry?

Here are some of their answers edited for clarity and brevity. 
Helen Povey, Ørsted

Empowering STEM Returners

Helen Povey
Senior Geologist

The renewables industry faces a lot of challenges, and to meet these we need innovative solutions. If we don’t have true gender equity, or equity across any other minority groups, we’ll never be able to fully tap into a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives and ultimately solutions.

After nearly a decade of working as a geologist in the oil and gas industry, I took a five-year career break whilst my two children were young. For me, the opportunity to be a role model for my children was a major motivator in returning to my profession, it was also part of my identity that I felt I’d lost.

I am grateful to Ørsted and STEM Returners, a brilliant organisation that helps employers recruit, develop, and retrain talent, for taking a chance on me. They offered me a ‘returnship’ that helped me successfully transition back to my professional career and gain new skills.

Ørsted does a brilliant job at hiring people who work creatively and consciously to support the growth of renewables and each other. As a woman restarting her technical career, I couldn’t think of a better place to do it.

In terms of what you can do to empower others, most importantly, be a role model. If you pursue a career where you’re a minority, or return to your profession after a career break, then you are setting a positive example for others.

Chelsea Nickles, Ørsted

Respecting the balancing act

Chelsea Nickles
Head of Market Development for UK and Ireland

Gender equality benefits the renewable energy industry because it results in increased diversity of thought, experience, and contribution. It thus challenges the status quo and ensures the renewable energy industry responds more effectively in what is a constantly evolving landscape.

Ørsted has invested in me as a woman by striving for a culture that respects what’s important to an individual and supporting the significance of respecting boundaries. This is something I reiterate in my teams – it must work for you to work for me and for Ørsted.

In terms of empowering others, we all must recognise that balancing what’s important to you (as a parent, a caregiver, or a pet owner) is not specific to women. Everyone has a role to play to demonstrate the reality of this and not spotlight it as a women’s issue. 

For example, men being up front that a 5 p.m. call is not going to work because of family obligations is important for de-mystifying and reducing the stress many women carry.

Emma Hospes, Ørsted

Attract the best talent 

Emma Hospes
Head of Strategic Environment & Permitting | Head of Biodiversity Programme

The renewable energy industry has an incredible growth trajectory globally over the coming few years and beyond. It’s vital that we attract the best talent to this regardless of background, and ensuring equality in gender is one of the first steps that can be taken to support this.

Ørsted has supported my career for more than a decade now. I have been privileged to be involved in internal employee-led gender networks, mentor and menteeship programs, and have attended external courses and fellowships on this topic.

Those experiences have really helped me develop my own career, and also understand and be aware of my own unconscious biases.

Image of Kirsty Townsend, Ørsted

Understanding parenthood requires flexibility 

Kirsty Townsend
Head of Strategy, Partners and Bid Support

Gender equality benefits all industries, but the renewables industry is all about changing the status quo and striving for a more sustainable future – therefore diversity of thought and innovative thinking is even more important in our industry.

Ørsted has invested in me as a woman by supporting my participation in Leaders Plus, an award-winning UK-based fellowship program supporting parents to progress their careers in leadership roles during maternity leave, shared parental leave and beyond. I have also been blessed with many informal and formal mentors over the years.

I feel strongly that parenthood for many people requires flexibility. Ørsted has allowed me that flexibility in how, where, and when I work. In addition, they have also supported me in taking my foot on and off the career pedal.

There have been times when I am ready to take a leap and try something new; but also times where I’ve appreciated taking a side step or supporting from behind the scenes. This flexibility, and the authentic support for my decisions, has been the aspect I have appreciated the most.

The expert take

Read the expert take on the latest debates, topics and issues in sustainability, renewable energy, and the green transition.