Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette cut right to the chase on Thursday, January 25th, in his talk with over 100 members of POWER (Professional Opportunities for Women at Energy Realized), an employee resource group at the Department of Energy.
“Despite the growing number of women in the U.S. workforce overall and the record numbers of women earning advanced degrees, the Department of Energy’s workforce demographics have not changed,” said Deputy Secretary Brouillette. “I want to know why.”
Deputy Secretary Brouillette has served at Department of Energy before—from 2001-2003 as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. In the time since he left, the number of women in the Department’s workforce has hardly changed.
Deputy Secretary Brouillette vowed to evaluate the Department’s diversity and inclusion statistics and their potential causes, with the aim of ensuring equal opportunity for workforce diversity and career mobility for women. He also fielded questions on parental leave policies; issues of intersectionality in representing women, veterans, people with disabilities, and other groups in recruitment and advancement at the Department; and the Department’s mentorship programs. Deputy Secretary Brouillette particularly emphasized the importance of increasing participation in mentorship programs, sharing his experience as both a mentor and mentee to strong female colleagues.
Deputy Secretary Brouillette expressed his willingness to examine existing policies and programs and consider ideas for making the DOE work environment as hospitable and welcoming as possible. POWER is taking full advantage of his invitation and is already exploring the possibility of creating a task force to focus on these critical issues, recommending actions for improving the DOE work environment for women, and investigating policies to improve the representation of women in DOE’s workforce. It’s time to make those numbers change.
Department of Energy employees, contractors, interns, and fellows can join POWER by emailing POWER@hq.doe.gov. For more information about POWER and the other Employee Resource Groups at the Department of Energy, visit the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity page here. Employees can get more information about the Department of Energy’s mentoring program resources here.