A few months ago I led a Leadership & Management Training for a multinational infrastructure company with offices across Africa. During a session on Diversity and Gender Sensitivity, I learned that the company had a staff strength of 180 in their Ghana office, out of which only 8 were women. These 8 women were mainly administrative and support staff.
I asked how it was possible that they had no women among their technical staff and the answer was jarring. I was told that the technical staff were made up of engineers who engaged mostly in field work and for the duration of time they’re onsite, they are housed in facilities built for that purpose. Now this company claimed they could not hire women engineers because women couldn’t be housed in the same facilities as the men and they also couldn’t go to the trouble of building separate female only housing.
So, a company with a far reaching, continental wide, rock solid reputation discriminated against hiring women engineers simply because they couldn’t go to the trouble of housing them.
This staggering inequality is only a small example of how women have being denied opportunities for years because of their gender. It begins from junior management to the highest executive positions, a lack of female representation in the workforce…and no industry is it more glaring, than in the energy industry.
Gender and Energy Facts and Figures
- Women make up 20 to 25% of the workforce in the overall energy industry.
- Women in energy comprise just 24% of all C-suite positions in the sector
- Only 6% of countries in the world have women ministers overseeing national energy policies and programs
- Women accounted for less than a third of those employed in scientific research and development (R&D) across the world
- High reliance on biomass for cooking in many countries means that women and children without clean cooking access spend an average of 1.4 hours/day collecting fuel
Women and children bear the greatest burden of this energy poverty. In advancing gender equality, social inclusion, and women’s empowerment in the energy sector, the intersection of gender, energy and…