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Deliberate efforts needed to promote gender diversity in energy sector

By: By Jessica Acheampong
Dr Mohammed Amin Adam (right), Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum inaugurating the WiE Ghana Board after the launch.
Dr Mohammed Amin Adam (right), Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum inaugurating the WiE Ghana Board after the launch.

The Women in Energy (WiE)Ghana platform that seeks to advance women’s leadership and participation in Ghana’s energy sector has been launched with a call on stakeholders to be deliberate about promoting gender diversity in the sector.

The increasing trend of men dominating the various sub-sectors along the energy value chain – petroleum and power, has prompted discussions on how to get qualified women to rise up to the challenge and take up roles in the sector.

Speaking at the launch of the WiE Ghana on February 12, the Managing Director, Tullow Ghana Ltd and Executive Vice-President, Tullow Oil Plc, Mr Kweku Awotwi, said the global energy industry had not achieved gender diversity yet and the case in Ghana was not any different.

It was, therefore, important to be very deliberate about increasing women participation at the high level of decision making in the sector by putting in place policies and the right infrastructure to help achieve this.

“We must be very deliberate about prioritising gender diversity and I think the changing work environment gives us the opportunity to do so,” he said.

He said technology was changing the face of work, hence the opportunity is provided for women to re-skill and upscale to take advantage of those opportunities.

Mr Awotwi noted that although achieving gender diversity in the industry would not be easy, the WiE Ghana provided a laudable platform to help achieve that.

He urged members of the platform to learn about the challenges, as well as opportunities that exist to help achieve gender diversity in the sector.

"Women in Energy (WiE) Ghana is a platform of individuals and companies committed to advancing women’s leadership and participation in the energy sector in Ghana."

How to achieve diversity
Outlining some measures on how to increase women participation, Mr Awotwi said it was important to promote the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the country, especially for women.

He said Tullow Ghana had been promoting STEM education by supporting educational and training institutions to help nurture more women.

Mr Awotwi also added that it was important to engender policies that would ensure that women were empowered to take up some of the roles that are primarily reserved for men.

Govt committed
The Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that more women were empowered to participate in the country’s oil and gas sector.

He said the government was embarking on an energy sector career sensitisation programme to help nurture young people to consider careers in the sector, explaining that 73 schools have been reach so far.

Launch of WiE Ghana    
The WiE Ghana platform was borne out of the concern about the effects of the limited presence and participation of women in top leadership positions in the various operations along the value chain in the energy sector.

The Chair of the WiE board of directors, Mrs Adelaide Addo-Fening said the platform would advance the course of women in the energy sector.

She added that the platform would also advocate for increased numbers of women in leadership and recognition of the contribution from women in the energy sector.

As part of its inception activities in the energy space in Ghana, WiE Ghana will, in the next three years, embark on awareness creation of all stakeholders, especially at the policy level and corporate businesses, conduct research on women’s contribution and value addition to the energy sector and disseminate the research findings.