Why does a diverse judging panel make an industry awards event more credible?
In order to make the judging of our European Wind Investment Awards as fair as we can, we have put together a judging panel with a diverse range of backgrounds and experience. Sarah Stewart explains.
There’s a scene in the 1979 film Alien that features a chamber containing hundreds of large, egg-like objects.
The eggs look the same, the aliens that hatch from the eggs look the same and the aliens all want the same thing: to fatally implant themselves into the humans aboard the spaceship to achieve interstellar domination.
Yes, it’s a sci-fi horror film set in outer space, but it still offers us a vital and relevant lesson: nothing good comes from a room full of identical things.
Which brings me, crashing like a dropship to the surface of exomoon LV-426, to the subject of diversity in the wind industry and the European Wind Investment Awards.
Gender diversity in wind
Gender diversity in the industry is a challenge. While wind performs better than oil and gas on diversity, it still relies on a large number of engineering and finance graduates who typically tend to be men. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s latest statistics, published in January, women make up 32% of the renewables workforce and 75% of those see gender-related barriers in the sector.
Hundreds of reports have been published which show just how important diversity is in business. It is important for innovation, to creating a positive culture, to attracting and retaining staff, to profit, the list goes on.
It’s hard to make instant progress but, thanks to good employers and initiatives in schools and universities, the picture is changing and we’re starting to see results.
For example, in June we published our inaugural European Power List report. One-third of the people featured on the list are women and we expect this to rise.
But it’s not enough to simply stand at the sidelines praising the work of others. As an organisation in the industry, we’re accountable too. This is why we made diversity a priority as soon as the planning of the European Wind Investment Awards began.
We were determined that the awards entries would be judged by a diverse panel of industry leaders and experts.
This ambition has not been compromised and we are proud to report that the judging panel is diverse – and not just in gender, but also backgrounds and expertise. This diverse judging panel will enable a multitude of viewpoints to be shared, and through discussion and debate, we are confident they’ll be able to identify the best entries.
The Benefits of Diversity
Researchers have observed that groups with more women were better at taking turns in conversation, which helps them make the most of the time they have together, as well as the group’s combined knowledge and skills.
A variety of skills and experiences among the judges also means that they can learn from each other, understand different mindsets and make connections. This chimes with one of our core principles at A Word About Wind, of bringing together those on the financial and technical sides of the sector to discuss and share knowledge.
In short, we want the European Wind Investment Awards to be as credible as all of our industry events. We want the awards to be valued and awarded to the most deserving candidate. For that to happen, it is vital that entries are judged fairly and objectively – and we believe the best way to achieve that is a diverse judging panel.
Don’t forget to buy tickets for the black-tie evening on 31st October either. It will be 2019’s must-attend event for the European wind industry.
Well, along with Financing Wind Europe!