A parallel online event with the theme of “Women in power, rebuild the world from COVID-19” was successfully held on 20th March 2021 during the NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum 2021. The virtual forum was organised by Ruomei Li the Chair of IEEE PES Women in Power (WiP) and Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely the President of New Future Foundation.
This global pandemic has harmed humanity and exacerbated social inequality, with women being the most adversely affected. Moreover, in the process of responding to the pandemic, women have shown extraordinary leadership and paid more attention to the needs of individuals, especially vulnerable groups. This forum discussed how to create opportunities for more professional women to take up leadership positions and accelerate the reconstruction of our world from the pandemic. Participants from all over the world attended the live forum. There were not only female participants but also many male participants in the event. The invited speakers shared their experience and vision during this pandemic and encouraged women to build up themselves.
The event started with the Opening Address from Ruomei Li. She gave a speech of “This world needs woman leaders with more humanities”. She said that people’s daily life was all affected globally by the COVID-19 and we moved our work online. But the online life cannot replace our previous normal life. We need to rebuild our world from this pandemic. Women have played a big role in this progress. However, we still need to improve the status of women and enhance diversity. This forum invited leaders from different organisations, countries and backgrounds to encourage and promote the female to get more opportunities and raise their voices.
Following the Opening Address, Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely gave her keynote speech of “We are to speak up for injustice suffered by women”. She said that things have been canceled in the last year 2020 because of the coronavirus. Women are dealing with the health crisis within societies, cities, communities and villages. When we talk about the issues of the empowerment of women in our families and communities, we are really speaking of the future. Let us empower each other, let us say women of the world, we are the future of the resolution to the world.
Jessica Bian, the IEEE PES President-Elect, shared her experience how we build strong leadership team by making a presentation of “Our time is now we rise by lifting others”. The IEEE PES Women in Power has been built in 2012 to serve professional women in the power and energy industry who are looking for leadership positions and career advancement. The networking and platform of WiP benefit women throughout the industry. We are speeding up to achieve equal pay and equal access by building a strong leadership team in our community, so that the ladies can take leadership positions and encourage young women to be successful.
Rob Stephen, Past President of CIGRE, gave a presentation of “Leveraging diversity for benefit of all”. Women can see problems from different perspectives and solutions are often found in areas where before they would not be considered. The power industry is very male-dominated and women are often viewed with caution by those in the industry – this needs to change at a more rapid pace. Experience since driving women’s participation has greatly enhanced the technical output of CIGRE brochures and the richness of conferences. Progress has been made but the continuous effort is required. CIGRE will continue to host events that promote participation, role modelling, and mentorship to women. The main point to understand is that women are essential if we are to achieve optimum solutions and products.
Maria Prieto-Laffargue, Past President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), gave a speech of “Women engineers, the key drivers for a better post-pandemic world”. This is our time! We women are right now at the right time! This pandemic society is opening a huge window of opportunities for women to achieve.reachable goals. The future is digital, and this mean the world needs not only engineering infrastructure but talent and knowledge based applications and profound working organizational changes. For women to size the current window of opportunity, women must enjoy full and equal access to technologically intensive based economies. Don’t forget technology is power. To increase the number of women engineers is the best way to rebuild and promote an inclusive post-pandemic world. We are the masters of our plant, let us become masters of ourselves.
Jenifer P. Castillo Rodriguez, the Chair of IEEE WIE Committee, made a presentation of “Why and how, GENDER DIVERSITY in leadership will make the world rebuild (from the Covid-19)”. More women have lost their jobs due to the impact of the COVID crisis than men. It is because that women and men tend to cluster in different occupations; the unpaid care of female is vulnerable to job losses in the pandemic; the existing gender inequalities are still the traditional societal mindset. But we are in a positive path. We need to act now. For example, the gender inclusion allows us to have the best talents, improve organizational performance and achieve society sustainablity. Moreover, we also need to to address the digital gap and biases and to improve education for our girls and provide more opportunities.
Simay Akar, the Committee Chair of IEEE PES Young Professionals, gave a speech of “Essential Skills for women empowerment”. Women are the change-makers. We need to build our confidence in our positions. But we create our own barriers sometimes. So it’s important to be aware of them to make it better. We should not hesitate to make new decisions, take new initiatives and try to be more creative at every stage. We also need to help each other and support each other as women.
Chengyan Yue, General Manager of ABB Power System Co. LTD, Beijing, China, made a presentation of “She Power: take challenges and light up green energy”. The outbreak of Covid-19 has brought us unexpected changes in life and work. It poses threat to global health and the economy. It also helps accelerate the shift of mindset towards sustainable development. Diversity in thought and experience is paired with our collaborative environment. Women have a bright future in the energy and power industry. We can light up green energy with women’s power Make full use of women’s advantages, explore what we are good at and beyond ourselves!
Gen Li from the Cardiff University UK was the co-host of this forum. He also joined the discussions with the speakers and audiances to share his experience as an early career researcher in the academia. He also shared his experience in promoting women to participate in the power and energy industry by joining the CIGRE Women in Engineering and IEEE PES Women in Power communities.
Our role models explored and discussed the importance of diversity, recommended strategies, and future considerations. Thanks to their contributions, this NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum was wonderful and successful. We believe that we can do better to rebuild our world from COVID-19.