blog8th March 2024

Women can drive trucks too

The connection between women and the environment is undeniably robust.    

Numerous studies have extensively documented a consistent gender gap in environmental concerns, indicating that women generally exhibit higher levels of awareness than men. This trend extends to climate change, where women view global warming as a threat within their lifetime compared to men and further bear disproportionate impacts from climate change and environmental issues compared to men. However, women also represent a dominant force concerning car and electric vehicle (EV) purchases and have also emerged as leaders in environmental movements and grassroots initiatives, with prominent figures such as Greta Thunberg, Jane Goodall, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming synonymous with terms like sustainability and equality.  

Considering that the transportation sector stands as the largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing 26% to the UK's total emissions in 2021 (427 MtCO2e), and recognising the pivotal role of EVs in decarbonising roads and mitigating the environmental impact of vehicles, it is evident that women should play a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of sustainable transportation and electric vehicle charging solutions.  

On this International Women's Day, we decided to explore what working in EV means for women of EO and share their advice with those entering or already building their careers in EV charging and sustainable transport solutions.  


International Women's Day - Blog Word Bubble

Women in EV Leadership  

While acknowledging the undeniable contribution of women to climate movements and their historical role as environmental advocates, it's still the case that men hold 67% of decision-making positions in climate-related matters, according to the UN. Women's representation in global and national climate negotiating bodies is below 30%. For effective and inclusive responses to the climate emergency, women's leadership and active participation are crucial to address their distinct needs and safeguard their rights.   

EO's Head of Fleet Sales for NA, Michelle Downing, shares why she chose to work in the EV space and offers advice to women aspiring to build their careers in it:   

"Throughout my career in the automotive industry, I had several opportunities to work in the alternative fuel space. This fed something I am passionate about in my personal life – a love of the environment and the outdoors. My belief over time was if I was going to be in the automotive industry, I would try to focus my energy and experience towards encouraging the use of vehicles and technology that were better for the environment and our planet.  

For women looking to join our industry, I would say don't be afraid to admit what you don't know and ask for help, and then share that knowledge with others – whether through personal relationships or the organisations supporting women in our industry. Most importantly, remember to stay focused on what is important to your happiness and well-being, which may lead to changes in your career. We all have missteps in our journey, but we can learn from those missteps and use the experiences to be more successful in our careers and our lives! "   

  

Women in Engineering   

Despite recent years highlighting the rise in numbers of women in engineering, whether in the field, lab, or office, women still constitute only 16.5% of engineers in the UK and approximately 17% in the US as of 2021.  

Niamh Slaughter, a field engineer at EO Charging, reveals that she started alongside other females during her qualification course as an electrician. However, she ultimately remained the sole female graduate of the program and proceeded to pursue a career in the field.  

"My advice to women who want to enter the industry is to be confident and voice their opinions. Your male peers will respect you more when you show you are present in the discussions and want to achieve the best out of your projects ", says Niamh.   

  

Advocacy for Women in EV   

While there is evident room for improvement in representation within the EV and auto industries, this gap has spurred the establishment of new mission-driven organisations, support groups, and inclusive spaces. These initiatives aim to uplift women by providing platforms for connections and information sharing. Women of EVs is one such organisation with a mission to elevate women in the EV industry by creating a space tailored for them. Events like the EV Summit also contribute by celebrating the achievements of women in the electric vehicle sector. Additionally, there are female-powered start-ups like 'ChargerHelp!' dedicated to repairing broken EV charging stations and training a workforce capable of maintaining these stations.  

"One of the most valuable experience-building resources has been finding women's groups. Gathering a group of female leaders to discuss how we're progressing in our careers and the industry as a whole and to have frank conversations regarding the challenges we continue to face has helped make both knowledge-sharing and leadership opportunities more accessible," said Jessie Peters, Head of Marketing Americas at EO Charging.  

    

Celebrating Diversity in the Workplace   

While the EV industry as a whole is rapidly growing and creating more employment opportunities, it is still suffering from an apparent gender gap both in the US and the UK. In the US, a 2021 diversity report from the National Association of State Energy Officials reveals that women constitute 47% of the national workforce but only 25% of the energy workforce. In the UK, despite comprising 47% of the UK workforce, women account for only 20% in the transport sector.

"I believe individuals should approach their career aspirations by viewing the industry as an inclusive entity, without gender-specific connotations. It's essential to perceive an industry not as 'male' or 'female' but simply as 'the industry' one is passionate about entering. By adopting this mindset, women can potentially overcome some of the societal barriers that may exist in areas not yet universally recognised as normal and equal. Embracing a holistic perspective allows aspiring women professionals to focus on their skills, expertise, and contributions, fostering an environment where merit and passion drive success rather than gender-related expectations. Additionally, seeking out mentorship, participating in industry networks, and advocating for diversity can further empower women in navigating and thriving within these evolving sectors." advises Liat Shtainberg, Head of People, EO Charging.     

As we work towards narrowing the gender gap, we acknowledge the need for ongoing and collective efforts to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. If you are considering your next role, we would love to hear from you – visit our careers page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/eo-charging/jobs/?viewAsMember=true.