International Women's Day: Gender Diversity at Ostrom


Cathrin Hirling


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The 8th of March is International Women’s Day with the theme for 2023 being #EmbraceEquity. We thought this made for the perfect time to share some insight into gender diversity within the energy market and startup world but most importantly, celebrate the women who are behind Ostrom.

Ostrom’s Wider Ecosystem

Founded in May 2021, Ostrom is still young in the start-up world. As part of the tech scene, the industry is known to be male-dominated. Globally women hold only 26.7% of tech-related jobs. This number is even lower in VP positions at 13%, demonstrating as seniority increases female representation decreases due to various gender-related barriers.

Gender in the Energy Market

The energy market still is one of the least gender-diverse industries globally, with traditional sectors such as fossil fuel having 22% female representation and the renewable sector having 32% female representation.¹ Within the energy sector, women are predominately involved in administrative jobs and still have low levels of representation across STEM and leadership positions.²

Across the energy industry, female representation at the management level is still extremely low with women only making up 14% of senior managers. The highest level of female leaders is found in utilities at 17.1% compared to renewables which have 10.8% female representation within leadership.³

There is good news

Although there is a lot of improvement needed, there is some progress. The number of female hires in the tech industry increased from 27% in 2019 to 30.9% in 2021, although small it is still an improvement. In 2021 the UN-Generational Equality Forum committed to policy reforms to advance gender equality and USD 40 billion to benefit women and girls. Some of these key focuses are on advancing women in leadership, economic empowerment, and reducing threats to women's rights.

Some key causes of gender imbalances in a formal work environment are seen to be due to the lack of role models and mentorship available to women; STEM being historically male-dominated; lack of flexibility; stereotypes; and gender imbalances within the industry but across society.

Gender Diversity at Ostrom

At Ostrom, we view diversity as being part of who we are. We have supported diversity consciously throughout our journey, to ensure it was not only welcomed but also supported from the start. As of March 2023, we have 60% of employees who identify as female and 50% female representation in leadership positions and above. Our view is that including diversity across departments, at all levels enables a variety of perspectives enabling greater innovation.

Current gender split across teams

  • Operations: 8 team members, 88% female
  • Tech: 7 team members, 28% female
  • Product: 5 team members, 60% female
  • Marketing: 3 team members, 67% female
  • Finance: 1 team member, 0% female
  • People & Culture: 1 team member, 100% female

The startup tech “bro” or “hustle” culture is not something we identify with. It is important to us to create an environment that feels good to be part of, offers growth opportunities, and empowers not only women but all team members, especially marginalized groups. We see that our current processes that support women in the workplace are a continuous process.

  • Structured and consistent recruitment processes
  • Flexible work model (hybrid & part-time options)
  • Frequent development 1:1’s, including capabilities matrix
  • Individual learning budgets
  • Structured remuneration reviews, including external benchmarking

How we can support women & minorities in the workplace

  • Provide equal opportunities
  • Fair recruitment processes that nurture diversity, equality, and inclusive
  • Transparent development processes
  • Flexible working arrangements with part-time offered
  • A safe space for all voices to be heard
  • Engage with community groups supporting female STEM

We strive to humanize our work environment where individuals can develop and drive their careers as they see fit whilst hopefully enjoying it along the way too. We look forward to checking in again next year to see the progress on reducing the gender gap.

Although we refer to gender as male and female, at Ostrom we view gender as being non-binary.


  1. IEA, Average gender wage and employment gaps by sector, IEA, Paris
    https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/average-gender-wage-and-employment-gaps-by-sector, IEA. License: CC BY 4.0
  2. IRENA (2019), Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective. IRENA, Abu Dhabi.
  3. IEA (2021), Women in senior management roles at energy firms remains stubbornly low, but efforts to improve gender diversity are moving apace, IEA, Paris
  4. G7 Report on Gender Equality and Diversity in the Energy Sector (Rep.). (2022). Berlin: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).
  5. Generation Equality Forum (2021), Heads of State, leaders and activists take bold action to accelerate gender equality and address the consequences of Covid-19 for women and girls, Paris