Breaking barriers: Differences in the perception of gender barriers in the RHC sector

22 March 2022 – W4RES, the Horizon 2020 project on Women for Market Uptake of Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC), has released a survey on the perceived barriers by women to the uptake of Renewable Heating and Cooling solutions in eight European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Slovak Republic). The results show that there is still a lot of work to be done, with the support of men, to help women attain management positions and become more involved in public authorities’ roles.

Men underestimate the involvement of women in the RHC sector

Among the first things the results reveal is the difference between the women’s involvement in the RHC sector and men’s perception of this issue. According to this survey and data, men believe women participate just as much as they do. For instance, 67% of Bulgarian men think that women participate equally to men, whereas 8% in Italy say this. However, the reality is different: women holding public authority positions are scarce in the RHC sector. This survey shows that 87% of the women living in Denmark believe women are underrepresented in public authorities’ roles in RHC.

Lack of women participation in public authorities’ roles relevant to RHC

Women are underrepresented in decision-making positions

Stereotypes play a major role in the RHC sector: hiring practices are more biased, women often think they lack the skills to work in this field, and they are aware of the gender wage gap.

Furthermore, women who want to be entrepreneurs and work in management face a lack of support. The work-life balance is still a challenge for women, and they are not adequately represented in decision-making positions.

Lack of support for female entrepreneurs in RHC

Overall, men in most European countries recognise the lack of support for women entrepreneurs, even if the support in European countries differs as well: women think there is a lack of support in Italy (77%), Greece (68%), Bulgaria (61%) and Denmark (60%).

How W4RES support the involvement of women

W4RES aims to scale-up the involvement of women in the market deployment and uptake of Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) solutions via replicable support measures tested and validated across the 8 above mentioned countries. W4RES proposes several measures such as the support of young women willing to pursue a STEM related education, a visibility for successful women in RHC, the organisation of coaching and mentoring programmes for female entrepreneurs, skills training and technical support. To be truly transformative, energy access and the energy sector must be linked with an agenda that challenges the stereotypes of women and that also advances their rights, dignity, and visibility in their various roles as consumers, producers, investors, experts and agents of change.

More information on the results of the survey is available here.


Communications contact: Céline Suchet, 
Project Coordinator contact: 
Ioannis Konstas,


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W4RES, a Horizon 2020 project, will run until October 2023 by an international consortium of 12 partners coming from 8 European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Slovakia. A balanced union joining forces and expertise on renewable energy sources research & advocacy, innovative business lines development and women advocacy.