Gender at ACEF

Gender equality is one of seven operational priorities in ADB’s Strategy 2030. Aligned with this, the ACEF Steering Committee took a number of measures to work toward a balanced representation of women at the Forum, and also that gender-related issues are effectively addressed. We are pleased to report that, as a result of our extensive outreach efforts, 36% of speakers in ACEF’s thematic tracks this year were women, which is double the 18% of women speakers last year. Similarly, 37% of registered ACEF participants this year were women.

In addition, ACEF 2019 featured a number of special events and networking opportunities for women, including two Women’s Networking Receptions on 17 and 18 June, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., designed to enable women professionals to network freely and build contacts. There was also a Deep Dive Workshop on “Women Power – Smarter, Inclusive Energy Solutions” on 19 June from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., organized by ADB and the University of Melbourne. This half-day workshop highlighted how ADB’s energy portfolio is advancing gender equality and social inclusion across the Asia Pacific region.

We will continue working toward the goal of greater gender inclusivity in future Forums as well. We greatly appreciate all of you who helped us reach out to women professionals in the planning and preparations for ACEF 2019. And we give special thanks to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for sponsoring many women participants to attend this year’s Forum and for supporting this important initiative.

Important progress, but a long way to go

  • 36% of speakers in ACEF thematic tracks were women, double last year’s ratio
  • 37% of ACEF 2019 registrants were women
  • All panels at ACEF 2019 featured women speakers (there are no “MANels”, or male-only panels)

Special events at ACEF 2019 include

  • Women’s Networking Receptions 17 and 18 June, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Women Power – Smarter, Inclusive Energy Solutions Deep Dive Workshop 19 June, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Key measure taken by the 2019 ACEF Steering Committee to ensure gender equality include:

  • Creating a Gender Inclusivity Group comprised of ADB staff that worked to ensure gender equity in participation across different areas of ACEF, including in the track co-chairs, in the track co-chair and session moderator positions, speakers and participants. A key focal area was to ensure there were no “all male” panels (also known as “MANels”) at the forum.
  • Reaching out to women in energy associations globally to promote the ACEF Call for Abstracts, encouraging women to participate and lead sessions at the Forum. These associations included Women for Climate (CleanTech-WIN), the CleanTech Women’s Innovation Network, Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE), Women in Energy and Women in Energy Asia, the Association of Women in Energy, and the World Bank/ADB WePOWER Group.
  • Targeted outreach to women speakers the Co-Chairs of ACEF’s 5 Thematic Tracks, to create a strong line up of women presenters, panellists, technical experts and thought leaders at ACEF 2019, across all track sessions and in each plenary and Deep Dive Workshop.
  • Creating opportunities for women-only networking to provide a platform for women professionals to meet and interact with each other across the energy and sustainability sectors globally.
  • Hosting a “Women in Energy” lunch which engaged approximately 25 thought leaders in addressing key issues associated with gender equality and inclusion in the energy sector.
  • Announcing a code of conduct to ensure a harassment-free environment at ACEF where each participant, regardless of gender, feels empowered to network freely and participate fully in the forum’s week-long sessions and activities.
  • Designing gender-balanced outreach materials to promote ACEF 2019, including communications featuring a balance of women and men in brochures, social media posts, and blogs, as well as strong and consistent messaging that encouraged more women, speakers and participants, to join the Forum. As an example, a special video was broadcast to promote women speakers during the Call for Abstracts, and several additional videos featured interviews with women to encourage gender parity in all aspects of the Forum.