Should I become a male escort?

It starts already in the subway. One morning this summer, the testosterone concentration on the trains heading for Munich Trade Fair is so high that you think you can hear the howling of prairie wolves. The reason for the elevator is the Intersolar, the world's largest trade fair for solar energy, the heartbeat of the energy transition. But it could also be any other energy congress.

For example, an industry meeting on electromobility: Journalists with X-Y chromosms ask other men on the podium questions: What range, how fast? What about the charging time of the new e-model? There are two women in the room. Me and the PR manager of an automotive company.

Electricity and PV systems: not for women The scene reminds me of a group of little boys I saw playing in the sand some time ago. They dug canals and importantly discussed where to build the dams. I don't know whether girls weren't allowed or didn't want to play. In any case, it is not much different among adults when it comes to electric cars, energy storage devices, wind turbines or PV systems. It's not for women.

This impression is created at least when attending relevant events. In the noise and storm of color in the congress halls, women in short skirts and tight tops fish men in suits and escort them to the stands.

There the men talk to same-sex suit wearers and people with competence about why this or that heating system is the best invention since sliced ​​bread. The skirt wearers stand by and smile absently into nothing.

Apart from regular talk show guests like the energy expert Claudia Kemfert (christened "Miss Energiewende" by the weekly newspaper Die Zeit), bustling event managers and brightly made-up hostesses who are allowed to distribute flyers, drinks and gummy bears, events on the energy revolution are often purely male events .

Energy and women: Does that go together? Regardless of why hostesses in Western Europe still have to be predominantly women in 2014, like “with a neat hairstyle and done fingernails” (here is a meaningful job description, replace the word customer with man) the question of whether it just doesn't belong together, women and technical energy issues?

Of course that fits, says Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at Exeter University. "But men just dominate industries, like energy, where there's a lot of money." Women tend to go first to areas where pay or social status are lower.

"The overt sexism in the energy industry that I experienced in the 1980s and 1990s has given way to a much more subtle form. But it is still very much there," notes Mitchell.

The social anachronisms are also reflected in numbers. A study by the management consultancy Ernst & Young shows that only four percent of the board members of the 100 largest energy supply companies worldwide are women. But the sector is not only lacking women. It is dominated by white men over 40 who represent 60 percent of management.

According to the authors of the study, this is particularly worrying because the energy industry is facing a major upheaval that requires innovative thinking and action. Even for Marie-José Nadeau, the first female chairman of the World Energy Council, this is difficult to understand: “Companies with a high proportion of women in management have the best chance of leaving their competitors behind,” she says.

But in reality, not only the "old" energy industry seems to be marginalizing the hip green economy talent, at least when it comes to the management level.

Also from the point of view of Cologne-based Sissy Müller, founder of a crowdfunding portal for the financing of green electricity systems and energy efficiency projects (WiWo Green reported), the pool of decision-makers is too homogeneous. That sometimes leads to grotesque scenes.

Müller describes a meeting with cooperation partners in which she and a colleague were at the top of the hierarchy - completely unfamiliar for her business partner. So unfamiliar that he only looked at her male employees when they answered. At some point the colleague broke the collar. She straightened up and made a loud voice to make herself heard. The way she built herself up in front of her male colleagues was almost reminiscent of a slapstick insert, says Müller.

It's actually a shame that an industry that always talks about the "old" system of energy generation that it wants to overcome obviously got stuck in its gender understanding in the days of the steam engine.

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