Place-Based Solutions for Net Zero: Gender Considerations on ‘Green’ Skills


  • Giulia M. Mininni University of Sussex
  • Ralitsa Hiteva University of Sussex, UK



Place-based, Gender and Energy, Just Transition, Net Zero, Green Skills


There is a global effort towards transitioning to a zero or low-carbon economy due to climate change and the current energy crises. This requires a shift in socio-technical systems and cross collaboration amidst sectors. The move to a clean energy-based economy also involves the creation of a broad range of skills, the upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce, and providing opportunities for training. While many critical analyses of emerging decarbonisation or green skills, focus on issues of clean energy transition and the distribution of opportunities between fossil fuel-based and clean energy industries, there is limited critical analysis of justice and equality regarding the distribution of opportunities for developing key green skills for place-based decarbonisation.

There is evidence of asymmetric power relations and gender inequalities regarding the acquisition of skills, employment opportunities, kinds of jobs and pay gap which disproportionately affect women. This paper presents compelling evidence of hegemonic masculinisation within the energy industry; this tendency is now mirrored in ecological industries and technologies, including within the renewable energy sector, leading to an ‘eco-masculinisation’ of the sector.

Just transition principles promote a fair distribution of resources and the representation of vulnerable groups, including women and minorities. By relying on local assets and resources, including human resources, place-based approaches to green skills could address local communities’ needs while strengthening their resilience. These processes are pivotal to a fair and equitable transition. By explicitly articulating the context of place in understanding the gender(ed) dynamics of decarbonisation and skills, the authors identify and reflect on an innovative way of understanding the intersections between infrastructures, skills, and masculinisation in the transition to low zero carbon.