INITIATIVES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF STEM VOCATIONS IN WOMEN

We encourage women in STEM careers

#training #women #gender equality #engineering

Iberdrola carries out numerous initiatives to support the professional development of women and to promote equal opportunities. It has set up programmes such as the School of Electricians for women in Brazil and Impulso STEM in Mexico.

At Iberdrola group we promote the development of STEM careers —Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics— among women. We believe that training in traditionally male professions is essential in order to enable them to work in all areas they wish and hold positions of responsibility occupied until now by men.

Significant progress has been made in recent years. The number of women in Iberdrola has increased by 50 % in the last decade and now represent 23.6 % of the group's total employees (37,127 at the end of 2020). According to the PISA Report, only 18 % of men in OECD countries and 5 % of women aspire to have a career in engineering or computer science.

In order to continue attracting female talent, the company is developing various programmes to promote this type of career in the different countries in which it is present.
 

Stem initiatives map.

 MEXICO

The Ministry of Public Education warns that Mexico will be short of 20,000 engineers within five years. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), currently only 27 % of men and 8 % women entering university in the country do so to study engineering, slightly exceeding the OECD average.

Iberdrola México is convinced that encouraging women to study engineering helps break down the salary gap that still exists in the country and attract more diverse talent to the company. It has therefore launched several initiatives to enable women to develop in STEM careers.

 Impulso STEM

The Impulso STEM programme, developed by Iberdrola México together with the Instituto de Energías Renovables (IER) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Technological University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca (UTVCO), seeks to encourage the study of engineering among Oaxacan youth, especially women.

The programme follows several lines of action which will make it possible in the future to respond better to the needs of the labour market and increase the area's productivity and competitiveness:

 The training of teachers and career advisers to optimise their way of transmitting knowledge about science and technology.

 The development of courses and workshops in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for basic and higher education institutions.

 A communication campaign to encourage young people, especially women, to study engineering.

 A scholarship programme to enable students interested in studying engineering to do so successfully.

 Women with Energy

The second Women with Energy forum was held in 2020, a space for dialogue in which 40 women team leaders with high development potential shared their experiences and ideas. They also attended workshops and conferences with experts from the sector. The first of these forums took place in 2017.

The aim of this event is to reaffirm the company's commitment to equal opportunities and to help get women into leadership roles.

 Mexicanas 4.0

Iberdrola México has also participated in the Employment Forum for Women in Technology and Industry of the Future Mexicanas 4.0 which focuses on opening opportunities for women in the fields of technology, science and engineering.

It has also signed the UN Global Pact Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of good business practices that promote equality between men and women in all the spheres of activity of an organisation.

The company is also taking part for the first time in the Target Gender Equality programme, a Global Pact initiative to accelerate efforts in order to achieve the gender equality target included in the Sustainable Development 2030 Agenda and in line with Iberdrola group's strategic priority to support equality and diversity.

 BRAZIL

The commitment to training by Neoenergia*, the group's subsidiary in Brazil, can be seen in the School of Electricians, which made further progress in 2019, opening a second line aimed exclusively at women.

This initiative has been recognized with the XI Corresponsables de Iberoamérica Award from the Corresponsables Foundation, in the Large firms category. This award values the best initiatives and good practices in social responsability, sustainability and communication in the region. The winners were 26 projects from 14 countries, out of 870 applications.

 Women's School of Electricians

In August 2019, the Women's School of Electricians opened in Bahía and Pernambuco, with the aim of promoting the inclusion of women in a profession in which men predominate.

The aim is to empower them with specific training through apprenticeship programmes in theoretical and practical disciplines, in order to increase their participation in the electricity sector labour market and promote gender equity through this empowerment.

The programme is free and lasts seven months, with a 596-hour teaching load. At the end of the course, successful students will be able to take part in the selection process to join the workforce of some of Neoenergia's distributors*.

Since its creation, more than 20,000 women have already registered to work in a sector in which they currently hold 22 % of the jobs in Brazil, according to a study presented in 2019 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

WeEmpower, a program by UN Women, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union to stimulate good practices in companies, has recognized this programme as a global example of good practice in promoting gender equality in the electricity sector. In a recently published case study [PDF], it points to the initiative as an example of one of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP): promoting women's education and professional development.

 UNITED KINGDOM

ScottishPower is a member of POWERful Women, an initiative to advance gender diversity within the energy sector.

As a rule, women interrupt their careers more than men [PDF] for reasons such as maternity, childcare and care of dependent persons. This is why the UK subsidiary has implemented a programme that enables women who have taken a break from their STEM careers to resume their working life. In partnership with Equate Scotland, the Women Returners programme aims to make a positive difference to the STEM industry by helping women "getting in, getting on, getting back and getting to the top".

It also has a network of women employees known as the SP Connected Women, which provides a platform for its members to meet regularly and share their experiences and ideas, both internally and at external events.

 UNITED STATES

AVANGRID**, the group's subsidiary in the United States, also promotes the training of women and girls in more scientific fields. Through its foundation it supports the training of electricians through scholarships in the CMP Lineworker Technology Program to train specialists, prioritising the inclusion of young women in the energy sector.

In addition, 2018 saw the founding of WomENergy, a Business Resource Group (BRG) aimed at attracting, retaining, developing and advancing female talent. BRGs are employee-led groups sponsored by a member of the AVANGRID Executive Leadership Team for the purposes of professional networking, professional development and community building.

Coinciding with the hundredth anniversary of women's suffrage in the US, the #AVANGIVES programme, an initiative that provides grants worth 5,000 dollars to organisations selected by employees, is focusing on women this year. For 2020-2021, the Foundation is expanding the programme to 12 organisations with a focus on diversity and inclusion, many with a special focus on women and girls, including in the areas of:

 Arts and culture: women in history, art and culture.

 Education: enrichment, training and education programmes.

 Health and safety: support for critically ill people, with disabilities, addictions, mental health issues, anti-violence, anti-abuse and social justice.

 Social inclusion and poverty reduction.

The Foundation also sponsors Eureka!, a five-year education programme — in collaboration with Girls Inc., a programme for young women interested in STEM careers — aimed at girls from low-income, minority families and those who would be the first ones in their family to go to university. The ultimate aim is for 100 girls to participate, 20 in each grade up to the last year of secondary school.

 SPAIN

Currently, less than 20 % of online profiles are women. PISA Report figures show that while more than half of university students are women, less than 26 % choose STEM-related degrees. Moreover, of the 14 % of young people who choose to study a basic or medium vocational training, less than 33 % are women and less than 1.4 % of them choose STEM careers.

Furthermore, enrolment to study for degrees in these subjects have fallen by 26 % for men and 33 % for women in the last 25 years.

To counter these figures, Iberdrola España also has programs to promote STEM vocations.

Thus, through its foundation, and together with EMT (Madrid's municipal transport company) and the Comillas Pontifical University, has launched the STEM Women's Sustainability Mobility Chair. This seeks to promote women in STEM vocations, in particular in the field of vocational training for sustainable mobility, by providing them with the necessary means for their development.

Iberdrola España is one of almost 50 businesses, organisations and institutions to join the STEAM Alliance for female talent. Girls for science to encourage the STEAM career paths (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in conjunction with Arts and Humanities) for girls and young women.

Among the activities foreseen for this initiative from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is the drive for teacher training in these subjects, the call for STEAM projects for educational centres and the creation of a quality seal for businesses and organisations that carry out activities to encourage these disciplines.

In addition, its CEO, Ángeles Santamaría, is a member of the Women's Energy Council, an advisory body to the Royal Academy of Engineering's Women and Engineering project created in December 2020 to promote participation by women in these areas.

This body warns of the urgency of promoting careers in technology, which have declined in our country, and stresses the need to promote technical programmes among girls and adolescents, as well as empowering and supporting women engineers and entrepreneurs in technology. It has therefore developed numerous programmes to enhance the profile of engineering by highlighting its social value, promoting STEM careers among children and young people and giving visibility to professional women in the STEM field.

The project aims to promote integration and is made up of high-profile figures from different areas of technology — such as María Vallet, vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering; Nuria Oliver, an academic at the Royal Academy of Engineering and academic director of the project; Sara Gómez, director of the project; Isabel García Tejerina, former minister of agriculture; and Cristina Garmendia, president of COTEC and former minister of science and innovation. The project is chaired by Elena Salgado, former minister and former vice president of the government and executive president of the Spanish Association of Consulting Firms.

IBERDROLA, SUPPORTING GENDER EQUALITY

All these initiatives are part of Iberdrola's commitment to gender equality, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, one of the main global objectives of Agenda 2030.

Effective equality between men and women forms part of Iberdrola's core values, as stated in our Policy on the Conciliation of Personal and Work Life and Equal Opportunities.

Equal pay is a fact of life for our staff, as men and women are paid the same for the same work and are subject to pay reviews with common criteria for both genders. A positive work-life balance is also encouraged, with more than 70 measures such as 100 % pay during maternity leave, 15 days paid leave before birth, a flexible reduction of the working day to five hours without reduced pay until the child is one year old and leave of up to four years.

 Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019 [PDF]

By promoting women's sport, the company also wants to contribute toward talent promotion, effective equality and social development. Iberdrola was the first company to make a global commitment to promoting women's participation in sport as a way of promoting equality. Today, the company supports 16 federations (gymnastics, triathlon, rugby, canoeing, badminton, football, hockey, volleyball, table tennis, athletics, karate, boxing, surfing, ice sports and fencing), lending its name to 22 leagues, all at the highest level, as well as providing backing to over 35 sportswomen.

 

*Iberdrola S. A. indirectly holds 50 % plus one share of Neoenergia S. A.

**Avangrid, Inc. is 81.5 % owned by Iberdrola S. A.