What’s next? That was the buzz the other day at WNSF’s 7th Annual New York-based Businesswomen’s Sustainability Leadership Summit: “Sustainability: We get it… now what?”. Animated discussions among women executives ranged from sustainability challenges along the supply and value chains, to how to revitalize employee sustainability engagement if ‘green’ wanes, to investment products for engaged consumers and a healthier climate, and energy policy to promote sustainable organizations and job growth.
(If you joined us there, share your comments with us here! And in case you missed us live in New York, watch this space for a full report and updates–and register for WNSF’s second annual West Coast Summit on Nov. 12 in California.)
One continual opportunity is technology: It’s always at the cutting edge, no matter the era (from the wheel to the wind turbine) or the field (from puffed wheat to hydraulics).
Another seeming constant: Women and girls don’t always gravitate to technology as much as many executives, educators and policy leaders might hope.
In fact, for over a decade researchers have known that women (along with men) aren’t likely to choose engineering as a career unless professionals and educators reach a broad population with a message about its full richness of culture and practice, including the “social world.”1
So-called ‘clean technology’ could change that–because yet another seeming constant is that women are really, really, interested in the environment and society, and that holds when they go to work.2
Clean technology has been broadly defined as a knowledge-based product or service to improve performance, productivity or efficiency, while reducing cost, inputs, energy consumption, waste or pollution. Clean tech initiatives are seen as helping to reduce energy use and related emissions, as well as improve water, soil and air quality, among other positive outputs. One other advantage: the countless human health and social benefits of such improvements–to neighborhoods, communities, regions and countries.
So the burgeoning clean tech field could be just the place for women to spread their tech wings, combining, as it does, environmental progress, social welfare and engineering savvy. In fact, WNSF has observed that professional women are ready, able and more than willing to learn the science, math and engineering principles, when it comes to improving the environment and the community. What’s more, corporate executives tell WNSF they’re looking for women with science and technology backgrounds.
Those findings were reinforced at WNSF’s first clean tech Summit in California over 18 months ago. There, WNSF featured women working in information technology (IT) to develop clean tech solutions, as well as those in other industries that employ those technologies to boost business results. Participants learned, among other exciting things, that women embrace technology–and involvement in it–especially when it supports their commitment to the environment and society.
And that’s why WNSF is presenting its second annual clean tech Summit–this time on Nov. 12 in San Jose. There WNSF will highlight the latest in clean tech opportunities across the building, water, IT, energy and other sectors–along with women leaders advancing business success with such technologies.
Join us on Nov. 12 to explore how clean tech can help move the business sustainability agenda from heightened awareness to higher performance–and the opportunities it creates for women.
In the meantime, tell us, how you think clean tech can inform the key business sustainability challenges today, including how to:
- Develop long-term strategies to think globally and act locally
- Work with different kinds of partners or even competitors to make a difference
- Keep up with changing customer values
- Create new jobs
- Engage employees
Tell us! We’re listening.
- Women and Men of the Engineering Path: A Model for Analyses of Undergraduate Careers, by Clifford Adelman sponsored by National Institute on Post Secondary Education and the National Science Foundation (NSF), 1998
- Businesswomen and a Sustainable Future. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4 2009