author: Paridhi Gupta of Smart Energy Water

As the utility industry continues its evolution toward a more consumer-centric, digital business model, women are critical in helping drive this transformation and create lasting change. This International Women’s Day #BreakTheBias reminds us of the importance of a diverse workplace. Bringing women into the utility industry means more than just increasing a number. Market disruption is coming from all areas, and increasing gender equity in the workplace is an integral part of the changes that are coming.

As utilities face an urgent need to transform and innovate to be ready for the 3D’s tipping points that will change their sector forever, it’s particularly important to take serious diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives . Innovation that uncovers new paths to growth will only spring from high-performing, gender-diverse teams that maximize the power of different opinions, perspectives, and cultural references.

Many women executives in the industry like Lynn Good, the longtime CEO at Duke Energy Corp. , , Caroline Winn, COO of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Patricia Poppe, the new head of PG&E Corp. in San Francisco and Geisha Williams, the previous PG&E Corp CEO, and the first Latina CEO in the history of Fortune 500 companies are proving to be trailblazers for a new generation of women executives in utilities.Imagine if every utility could meet exponential disruption with exponential inclusion? – just like these leaders did –  Providing equitable opportunities to the right talent could further drive innovation and deliver value quicker to customers. #BreakTheBias.

Many topics are top priority to women executives in the industry including grid modernization to evolution of customer innovation to leveraging data. 2021’s WE3 Summit had women leaders speaking all about the future of utilities.


Fresh thinking and new approaches.

Closing the gender equity gap in the utility industry is challenging.But it also represents an enormous opportunity. Evidence suggests gender equity boosts innovation in organizations that are more socially equitable, and those utilities that are prioritizing gender equity say they already see benefits in three key areas that underpin innovation.

  • Applying different perspectives to unlock better solutions.
  • Adapting to change and moving with agility.
  • Sourcing and keeping the best talent.

It’s high time to think. 

  • How many female leaders does the utility industry have? Is this figure improving over time?
  • Are  key operational roles equally held by women?
  • Do we have a strategy that includes formal programs and multilevel initiatives to attract, retain and promote women? Are these backed by appropriate resources and measured with metrics?
  • How is the industry engaging men on this journey?
  • Are we still expecting gender equality to improve organically?

We already stand at a critical juncture in modern human history. An equal world is an enabled world.  We can actively break the bias of stereotypes, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. 

The Digital Utility movement is fueling change as the industry responds to new market conditions, reacts to new regulatory requirements, reshape our customer’s experience and reimagine our use of technology.  At the helm, leading these changes are today’s women in utilities.