GTM is serious about making sure the top women across the clean energy industry have a strong voice.

We're not perfect. Cleantech is more diverse than other energy sectors, but women are still largely underrepresented. We've had our share of conferences in the past that were dominated by men. And we've been rightly called out for it.

As part of our Women Advancing Grid Edge (W.A.G.E.) initiative, we've been working hard to increase representation of women at all our conferences. In fact, our next event — the Blockchain in Energy Forum coming up in San Francisco on September 11 — is comprised of 48 percent women speakers.

While we've always tried to avoid #manels, we think this gender balance is particularly important for a male-dominated sector like blockchain.

In the light of the #nevermanel world, we'd like to share some brief insights about how to increase diversity. We understand there can be challenges when organizing an event, but here are some tips for addressing them.

The challenges:

  • Scheduling for events is hard: In the case of three of our speakers, we first approached women in the company. None of the senior leaders were available for the event, so we went with one of their equally qualified male colleagues.
  • Women not reaching out: Among the 20+ people that reached out to be a speaker, only two were women. I encourage women to reach out more to speak on panels. If you are a male, you can encourage female coworkers to do the same.
  • Lack of female leadership in companies: Some relevant startups had zero female leaders.
  • Timing of events: Events have a deadline and at some point speakers need to be scheduled. Sometimes speakers drop out last minute and it's vital to find a replacement.

Tips for achieving a strong gender balance:

  • Lean on your networks: We reached out to blockchain pioneers in our network to help recommend women across the industry. Special shout-outs here to Jesse Morris at Energy Web Foundation, Jo-Jo Hubbard at Electron, Kristen Brown at Exelon and Killian Tobin at Omega Grid.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask explicitly for women on the team: Being upfront with companies about our goal helped increase the gender diversity; most companies are fully behind trying to promote diversity across the sector.

We couldn’t be more excited about our line up of incredible women and men at next week’s event and hope you will join us. Learn more about the event here.