Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, women were studying scientific subjects and making discoveries. Despite the sexism and discrimination that plagued the world throughout these times, women fought to be recognized for their contributions to their respective industries.
The first female recognized for her work was Maria Mitchell, an American scientist awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences after she discovered a comet. Other brilliant women followed in Mitchell's footsteps; Elizabeth Bragg was the first woman to earn her degree in civil engineering; Marie Curie was the first woman to win Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry.
These are only some of the women who have made significant contributions to the way the world uses energy:
Maria Telkes. This inventor designed the first solar heating system as well as the first thermoelectric refrigerator.
Calutron Girls. These high school graduates contributed to World War II efforts, monitoring for calutron, a spectrometer that separates uranium isotopes used to make atomic bombs.
Lynn Jurich. She is the creator of Sunrun, a solar-as-a-service company that seeks to bring clean energy to the masses.
There has always been a lack of diversity in the solar industry, in both culture and gender. While jobs continue to increase, the amount of women represented in the new jobs that are created is minimal. Until recently, women have continued to make significant contributions to the sciences - unrecognized for their work. Now, these organizations exist to celebrate and unite the women of the solar energy workforce.
Women In Solar Energy (WISE) is a non-profit network that advances women who work in the solar industry. They also work to generate excitement about the industry, both inspiring women to want to work in solar as well as invest in and buy solar power for their homes and businesses.
GRID Alternatives is similar type of non-profit organization that brings together communities, volunteers, and job trainees interested in implementing solar power in low-income neighborhoods. They offer a Women In Solar Program that celebrates the 20% of women joining the solar workforce each year.
POWER (Portland Oregon Women in Renewables) is an organization that serves as a support group for women with careers in solar. From networking opportunities to dicussing issues in the workplace, POWER offers women in the Portland area a variety of ways to be involved in the solar community outside of their 9-5 workday. Like POWER, PES Women in Power fosters those relationships that allow women in solar to network, learn, and advance in their careers.
Are you interested in a career in solar power? Contact us today to learn more about getting started in the solar industry.