IWD: Q&A with the Senior Management Team

Published 8 March 2023

As we mark International Women's Day 2023 (IWD), and celebrate Women's History Month throughout March, we spoke with Climate Impact Partners' majority female leadership team (55%) on the importance of this month, why we need women in the climate space, how to support women into senior positions, and the role of male allies in achieving gender equity. 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Find out what this day means to different members of our leadership team.

"March 8th, though just 0.3% of the year, gives us a dedicated time to pause and talk about what we will do to change in order to gain equality faster. The world is in a crisis now in multiple areas, from climate change to wars, and we need ALL people of ALL genders to have the ability to engage, lead, and make an impact." Sheri Hickok, CEO

"As a society, we are failing to consistently include women in an equitable way and if we continue to fail in promoting that voice and providing a platform for women to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face, e.g. climate change, we will not find optimized, fully represented solutions. International Women's Day serves as a sharp reminder of how far we still have to go to achieve equality and should be an opportunity to refocus and find an inclusive way forward." Eric Bennett, Chief Commercial Officer

"In some places women don't have a voice, so a day like International Women's Day is a chance for those who are in a position to do so to advocate for these women, put forward the case for opportunities and messages around the importance and power of equity, highlighting why it's not just the right thing to do but also the best." Rachael Nutter, Global Director, Project Development

Why are women still underrepresented in executive teams?

In 2022, the number of female CEOs running Fortune Global 500 companies was just 4.8% - a record high. Hear views from our leadership team on how we can change this and ensure more women are reaching senior leadership roles.

"I think it's both a top-down and bottom-up issue. Top-down, decision-makers are still predominantly male and while we're seeing incremental change in this area, alongside some strong male allies, there is still a long way to go. Bottom-up, it's about ensuring that women at any stage in their career have strong role models, support, and pathways to these types of roles." ShanMae Teo, Chief Financial Officer

"There seems to be an institutionalized trend that means men’s voices get heard more clearly. But I’m hopeful that in the next ten years, we’ll see more and more women who’ve been working successfully in businesses and NGOs rising to the top. It doesn’t cross the mind of my daughter and her friends that they won’t have equal opportunity to do whatever they want, and they are a formidable group of talented, insightful young women who have really found their voice." Rebecca Fay, Chief Marketing Officer

What do you think men can do to help achieve gender equality?

"Any time men see an opportunity to work with people who bring new perspectives they should take it - groups that have different experiences, skills, vision, and passion for change. There needs to be open-mindedness and an understanding that not one person has all the answers; diversity brings the best ideas. Respect is crucial in understanding and learning about people's different lived experiences, recognising that not everyone is starting in the same position." Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director, External Affairs

"I think more men need to be proud to be feminist and willing to call out behaviour that does not recognise women equally. And I don’t mean things like obvious harassment or discrimination, I mean small things that may be considered petty – when you’re in a meeting and a woman speaks but a louder man speaks over her. Or, even worse, when a man repeats what the woman just said but everyone pays more attention." Rebecca Fay, Chief Marketing Officer

"It's crucial that men proactively listen to women to learn about and understand the different experiences men and women have. Men have an opportunity to use their voices to advocate for positive change - calling out behaviour that perpetuates gender inequality and challenging unconscious bias and stereotypes." Eric Bennett, Chief Commercial Officer

How are Climate Impact Partners' projects benefitting women? 

The link between gender equality and climate is often overlooked as we consider solutions to the climate challenge we face. There is not one winning solution, and climate action must always be viewed as a toolkit, but one solution with direct gender benefits, alongside the climate, is channelling finance to fund carbon reduction projects. Find out more below.

"I've recently come back from visiting a bamboo planting project we're involved with in Asia, which is actively trying to get women involved in non-traditional roles. They had women-led nurseries focused on seedling work and many women had taken on roles in the factory -traditionally a male-dominated place. These roles are providing safe working environments and providing women with an income source. I also saw the voice women had in community decision-making and how influential their views are when determining how a community engages with a project." Rachael Nutter, Global Director of Project Development

Read more about the impact of carbon financed projects on women and girls globally in Rachael's article exploring why clean cookstoves are a climate justice solution.

What is the best piece of advice you've received in your career?

"Don't let self-doubt take over and limit you from achieving. I try to have a good circle around me of people who can help me get perspective - whether that's to work through self-limiting thoughts, provide candid advice, or see things from a new angle. It's important to reframe our view on areas where we need to make improvements, not seeing this as a failing or negative reflection on ourselves but as an aspiration and goal to work towards." ShanMae Teo, Chief Financial Officer

"The advice I would give to the girls/women of today is built on many incremental coaching moments that I have received, and I hear other women discuss too often these days and that is 'Kick imposter syndrome to the curb. Kill the words from your vocabulary.' Everyone feels scared at times, stretched in a role, unsure how to do something, but look around you, others have figured it out and I know you can too. Just take one step at a time and keep moving forward." Sheri Hickok, CEO

Why do women have such an important role to play in tackling the climate crisis?

Despite women being disproportionately impacted by climate change, they do not currently have access to the same platforms and representation as men when it comes to decisions on how we solve it. Read below to find out why we need to hear women's voices and ideas.

"As a starting point, they are just over half the population of the planet so why would we not involve women in finding solutions? It's important to remember that, in many parts of the world women are the ones looking after the family, cooking and getting access to water - the resources that control energy consumption. Women have the knowledge to influence the best use of money for climate adaptation and finding energy-efficient solutions." Rachael Nutter, Global Director, Project Development

"An inclusive approach leads to success. If you're designing a climate solution without understanding the impact of it on those on the front line of climate change, which is populated by women, then you won't create the best solutions. The voices of those most impacted need to be heard and empowered in sharing ideas, thoughts, and solutions." Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director External Affairs

"Really, for me, women need to be involved because this is a global problem and we need everyone involved, delivering solutionsthat work for their specific circumstances, and go beyond the pretty poorprogress we’re getting from governments." Rebecca Fay, Chief Marketing Officer

Kick imposter syndrome to the curb. Kill the words from your vocabulary.
Sheri Hickok, CEO, Climate Impact Partners
International Women's Day serves as a sharp reminder of how far we still have to go to achieve equality and should be an opportunity to refocus and find an inclusive way forward.
Eric Bennett, Chief Commercial Officer
It's amazing to see how International Women's Day has grown; at the outset of my career this was not something organizations were widely celebrating and this gives me great hope for the future.
ShanMae Teo, Chief Financial Officer