Green Economy + Women = Economic Growth

“Would you call a police officer who uses a computer system in his car…part of the high-tech economy?  Probably not, but he’s using a computer every day to do his job and it’s fundamentally changing his job.
“The green economy is sort of similar to that in that it’s a set of industries and occupations that will have a profound impact on the entire economy as we do this transformation.”
Those are the words of Kate Gordon on Green Connections Radio™ last week in her first interview since being named Director of Advanced Energy and Sustainability at the Center for the Next Generation.  She was Vice President of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she will continue as a Senior Fellow.
The clean energy — aka green economy — is the top growth industry in the world, and will be the source of the greatest economic growth – and job creation – while solving some of the world’s greatest challenges.  The Brookings Institution says that renewable energy industries grew at 8.3 percent annually between 2003 and 2010, which is twice the rate of growth in the national economy for the same period. And, that doesn’t count all the jobs created to support those businesses.
Thomas Friedman of The New York Times said in his new book, That Used to Be Us, that “(Clean energy) will be ‘the next major cutting edge industry” on which economic fortunes…will depend.” 1

“Fixing the Economy? It’s Women’s Work.” 2

It’s about financial performance. Credible studies from McKinsey, Goldman Sachs and others demonstrate conclusively that women in leadership equals stronger financial performance. “Fortune 500 firms with the best records of putting women at the top were 18 to 69 percent more profitable than the median companies in their industries.” 3
“To achieve the economic expansion we seek we need to unlock a vital source of growth that can power our economies to come…By increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, we can have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Women and the Economy Summit recently.  We need to be “big and bold in our thinking and transformational in our policies and practices,” she added.

Women Make 80% of the Purchasing Decision – Yet, Women Lost 18,000 Jobs, While Men Gained 126,000 Jobs

Women make about 80% of the purchasing decisions worldwide and control $12 trillion in global purchasing power (LINK).  Yet, are being left behind….The U.S. Department of Commerce report on Women in STEM states that, “(I)n 2010 job growth for men outpaced job growth for women for 10 out of 12 months. …Women lost 18,000 manufacturing jobs from November 2009 to November 2010, while men gained 126,000 jobs.” 4
The Dearth of Women Role Models in Energy and the Green Economy
The Girl Scouts of America Research Institute 2012 study found that 81% of girls say they are interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), yet “half of all girls feel that STEM isn’t a typical career path for girls.” 5 But something happens…..because the number of women in engineering is at a 15-year low.  These girls need role models.  Green Connections Radio™ is bringing them to you.
I attended the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Summit and found the percentage of women speakers and attendees to be dismal.  There ARE talented women in the green economy, in STEM fields, business, government, academia, journalism, and non-profits. You just don’t see them much in the media or at conferences.
As I wrote in my Huffington Post blog about the ARPA-E Summit, I believe there is blame all around. Employers and event planners need to think “out of the box” to attract and recruit more women. And women need to show up, and be persistent.

Green Connections Radio™ is Bringing You the Talented Women in Energy and the Green Economy

Green Connections Radio™ is a new weekly, half-hour radio show that looks at the latest national and international business news through the prism of the green economy — and 80 percent of our experts are women.
Green Connections Radio™ will raise the visibility of the talented women in energy and the green economy – in business, policy, academia, non-profits, journalism, and the arts/culture. Our first few shows cover the upcoming global Rio+20 Summit, green buildings, where we get our electricity from and how we use it, alternative fuels and vehicles, cool gadgets that improve our lives and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, daily habits that have an impact we weren’t aware of, and recycled art.
Listen to Kate Gordon on Green Connections Radio™ about what government can do today to reduce our energy consumption. Listen to Aneri Patel of the U.N. Foundation’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative discuss rural electrification and the women in rural India whose economic, political and social lives are being completely transformed by making and selling solar lights in their villages. Or Darlene Pope, CEO of CoR Advisors, an intelligent buildings consultancy, talk about green buildings. Or Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network and Rebecca Lefton, Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress.

Tell Us About the Talented Women in Energy and the Green Economy Near You

No matter where you are in the world, from Boston to Bangladesh, from Arizona to Antarctic, from Portland to Prague, from Tennessee to Tanzania, we want to hear from you. Tell us about the great women in your world who work in energy companies, or environmental organizations, or who are starting recycling programs in their kids’ schools.
Tell us what you think at

[1] Thomas Friedman’s 2011 book, “That Used to Be Us,” quoted in The Washington Post 10-2011
[4] US Department of Commerce report, Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation:
[5] GSRI Generation STEM, summary.