The women’s glass ceiling does not understand borders, but is a global phenomenon that strikes especially in the private sector decision-making positions. Looking at the executive offices of the 500 largest companies worldwide, only twenty have a women’s name on the door. 32% of businesses have no female senior managers, and only 22% of the senior positions are held by women. These data provided by the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC, 2020) proves the extent of the inequality, a global reality that also affects Argentina. National data reveal that only 4% of companies, including large, and small and medium businesses (SMEs) are led by a woman.
Currently, it is not yet possible to provide specific gender data on the green hydrogen sector given its belonging to the “young industries”. However, a review of the parity levels’ in decision-making roles in the Argentinian PtX and green hydrogen markets can be conducted. A gendered analysis of the industries involved in the PtX value chain and relevant stakeholders can offer an insightful picture about the current gender equality in the sector.
Oil, gas, and petrochemical, industries with terrain to regain
The most striking results come from the end-use sectors. In the oil and gas industry, only 5% of Argentinian companies are led by a woman (IAPG, 2022). The number goes up to 17% for the metal sector (ADIMRA, 2021); however, in those that include women in senior positions, they usually hold commercial and administrative roles. In the Argentinian Petrochemical landscape, around 70% of the national fertiliser production is controlled by a single company where, according to its Sustainability Report, no women holds a management position in this business. Previous studies on Latin American oil and gas companies, show that 95% of them have developed internal mechanisms to tackle sexual harassment, and all the examined businesses have actively implemented measures on maternity leave, and yet the access to leading positions is still limited for women.
Gender equality, the future of renewable energies
Nevertheless, if we look at the start of the green hydrogen value chain, data shows more positive tendencies. Stakeholders have understood that renewable energies are not exclusively a solution to fight climate change and the planetary crisis, but the chance to bring gender equality to the energy industry. Several measures are already being put into place, such as promoting financing for companies led by women by the Secretariat of Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurs (SEPYME) or the inclusion of a gender perspective into the Guidelines for an Energy Transition Plan for 2030 of the Secretary of Energy. At the same time, the Argentinian renewable energies sector has already made a step forward through the creation of the Association of Women in Sustainable Energies (AMES). Since 2018, the organisation has actively worked to reverse the status quo in the energy sector, promoting women’s presence in decision-making levels.