The future can be understood as both the goal and motor of green hydrogen. Several of our partner countries, as Argentina, have embraced the opportunity towards defossilisation, becoming pioneers in PtX, e.g. in ammonia production. However, this innovative concept offers something beyond reducing carbon emissions: also the possibility to promote gender equality as one of its key pillars. It is indeed an ambitious goal, but essential for a sustainable and just transition. During the month of March and within the frame of International Women’s Day, we have explored key aspects about the Argentinian green hydrogen industries, to rise awareness on gender equality. In previous articles were explored the levels of parity in relevant industries for PtX, and women’s representation in decision-making positions. For this third and last article of the series, we return to Argentina’s classrooms, where the shaping of careers often begins.
Parity in Argentinian Universities
Nowadays, there is still an obvious genderisation of disciplines. While women are more numerous in the areas of humanity and arts (60%), and social sciences (59,6%), men do so in natural and exact sciences (59,8%), and engineering and technology (66,5%). Given the ongoing evolution of every discipline towards parity levels, this can only be explained, not necessarily by a lack of interest, but by an unwelcoming professional market for women. As has been explored in previous articles, 29,5% of the professionals in the Argentinian industrial sector are women, 26,5% if we talk about the energy industry. Meaning by this that there is an estimated 10% gap between the number of women studying sciences, and those that become professionals in their area of expertise. The inconsistency increases the higher we move in the hierarchy, its strongest expression in the lack of women in decision-making roles and as CEOs.
Engaging women in the energy job market
The report Gender and energy in Argentina: the participation of women in the lectricy generation sector identified several decisive aspects to work on in order to achieve gender equality and parity in the energy sector. Between the four established strategies to follow, two of them need to be placed in the academic environment: (i) interest in the sector and (ii) recruitment. According to the Argentine Petroleum Institute (IAPG), there are already measures taking place in this regard, 38% of the oil and gas companies have agreements with universities for internships or scholarships exclusively for women. This is an outstanding measure, suitable for all PtX end-use industries, that addresses one of the root problems.
There are educational institutions in Argentina that have already implemented norms of gender equality. That is the case of the of the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires that has established parity in decision boards and directive position, and the creation on the “Area of Gender Equality and Diversity for Students”. Systems as such, have countless positive effects for female students, they have women as mentors in management and directive roles, they learn how to identify sexism, how to deal with it, and the available tools to fight against this discrimination. Understanding the key role education plays in every professional, and thanks to the current efforts taking place in the Argentinian academic institutions, we can only keep working to promote parity and gender equality within every involved stakeholder.
This blogpost draws on a gender analysis for PtX in Argentina written by Veronica Chorkulak.