Women in Energy: Christine Lins

The Women in Energy series is a joint project between USEA and USAID to help improve the visibility of women's participation and leadership in the traditionally male-dominated energy sector and their active participation in policies and gender outcomes in organizations.


Every month we feature a woman who has shown exemplary leadership. The women highlighted come from diverse backgrounds and roles, and they bring with them a unique perspective on gender equality within the energy sector. We believe that increasing women's leadership and participation in decision-making for climate policies needs active communications campaigns and championing that catalyze behavioral change and urgent action.

1. What role did your education play in your career path in gender equality? Were there any obstacles that your younger self needed to overcome?

I am an economist by training and did my first student job in a regional energy agency. Fascinated by the sector, I stayed on and by now look back on over 25 years of work in this field at both regional, national and global level.

In the 1990s, the energy sector was even more male dominated than today. I recall attending an energy efficiency conference in Western Austria close to Switzerland where I was the only women among 100 men. Of course, dealing with such situations as a young woman requires self-confidence and passion for the sector your work in. Subsequently, I was lucky to have both male and female mentors in my career who supported me and helped me overcome hurdles.

2. How did you carve out the career path you are on now empowering and championing the rights of women and girls, promoting empowerment, visibility and connectivity in the energy sector?

In my previous job as Executive Secretary of REN21, a global multi-stakeholder network on renewable energy, I did a lot of presentations and lectures at multiple international conferences all around the world. At the end of the sessions, young women would often tell me that they found my presentations inspiring as they lack female role models. This was actually the initial motivation for me to co-found GWNET, the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition. GWNET works with partner from all around the world to make sure that energy transition recognizes and harnesses all innovative talent available from both men and women. The network, which currently consists of over 5.000 members from 150+ countries, is open to individuals and corporations who are committed to advancing the gender balance in the energy sector and who wish to connect with their peers to advance the energy transition more rapidly.

3. How does GWNET support women professionals in the energy and sustainability sector to advance their career and open up new opportunities through your work? Is there opensource data available on your work?

As solid data is fundamental for any political action, GWNET collaborates with international partners such as IRENA, the World Bank, OSCE and others to generate data on the status and role of women in energy (e.g. Women for Sustainable Energy – Strategies to Foster Women’s Talent for Transformational Change, Europe’s Energy Transition: Women’s Power in Solving the Labour Bottleneck, Power with full force – Getting to gender equality in the hydropower sector, Advancing an Just Energy Transition in Central Asia – Women’s Key Role in the Energy Sector).

Furthermore, GWNET collaborates with national and regional women in energy networks throughout the world to empower women in energy and exchange innovative concepts and approaches.

Last but not least, GWNET leads the development of several regional and global mentoring programmes for women in energy, with the goal of advancing the role of women as agents of change in society and promoting best practices within the sustainable energy sector. In the last five years, more than 850 women from 90+ countries have participated in these mentoring programmes and GWNET has built up a pool of over 900 mentors who volunteer some of their time to empower junior and mid-career women in energy.

4. What are some of the critical policies and plans that must be prioritized by governments, public and private sector, to ensure that women and girls are central to the global just and equitable energy transition?

The climate goals set in the Paris Agreement mean nothing less than a total decarbonization of the energy sector by latest 2050. Renewables must play a major role in that process. National governments are increasingly recognising the economic and social benefits generated by renewable energy. Deployment of renewables contributes to growth in gross domestic product and creates employment opportunities. In 2022, renewable energy employment increased to reach a record high of 13.7 million jobs.[1] Considering that the workforce in the renewable energy sector is predicted to grow from 13,7 million today to about 40 million in 2050, the attraction of female talent will be crucial to ensure a thriving sector.

The CoP 28 Global Stocktake reports called on all countries to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. At the same time, the Global Renewables Alliance sought commitments to triple renewable energy capacity globally and double the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. These goals mark the beginning of the end of fossil fuels, and renewed momentum for renewable energy investment and the creation of high-quality sustainable jobs.

According to converging projections by international organizations such as IRENA, IEA, and the European Commission, more jobs will be created in new energy fields over the course of energy transitions than will disappear in the old sector – coal, gas, oil. This will not happen automatically, however: new jobs will not spontaneously spring up where old jobs disappear. Planning energy transitions in an inclusive and participatory way is therefore of the essence; the people who are affected by the energy system transformation need to be included in all stages of the very transformation process.

5. In your mentorship, entrepreneurship or technical support programs how do you prioritize monitoring and evaluation indicators, especially gender responsive indicators to gauge real development sector impact or successes?

Throughout or mentoring programmes, we evaluate participants’ satisfaction with mid-term and end-of-programme surveys. We have collected lots of testimonials from participants about how their participation in a programme has shaped their career. As we have reached a critical mass of women who have participated in our various mentoring programmes, we are starting to work on a more solid M&E framework, which will also give us the possibility to measure long-term impact of our programmes on the mentee’s career development.

6. What would be your top practical recommendation for younger women pursuing a career in STEM, especially energy and sustainability?

My top practical recommendation for younger women in any sector would be to follow their heart and work in a sector they are passionate about. Once they identify this field, it is important to build a long-lasting network. Remember: your network is your “net worth”! Finally, they should seize any opportunity when it presents itself. Passion, stamina and self-confidence are ingredients for success!

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