Empowering women in energy the intelligent thing to do, says DMRE official

23rd May 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) had been running a five-year Energy Sector Women Empowerment Strategy since 2021, pointed out DMRE deputy director-general Hilda Mhlongo on Thursday. She was delivering the keynote address at the Women in Energy breakfast at the Enlit Africa 2024 conference, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“The energy sector is crucial for economic development and sustainability,” she highlighted. But women remained underrepresented in the sector. That was why there was a need for empowerment strategies, to address this imbalance.

The strategy had supported a number of programmes and initiatives, she reported. These were designed to address identified barriers to women in the energy sector, and were showing tangible results. But, as the strategy had only one more year to run, it was now necessary to review it and make improvements.

Among other issues, the current strategy was seeking to deal with the inadequate access to education for girls and women. Current programmes included those intended to stimulate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education among girls, and vocational training for women. Others sought to help women set up their own businesses in the sector, ranging from solar PV installation to energy consultation.

She affirmed that the benefits of bringing women into the energy sector included the stimulation of innovation and the achievement of a greater diversity in outlooks. Ensuring women’s participation in the energy sector was not just a matter of equity, but also one of inclusive growth.

Promoting women in energy helped promote gender equality and challenged traditional gender roles. Investing in tangible programmes and initiatives to promote women in the energy sector was not only the right thing to do, it was, she affirmed, the intelligent thing to do.

Finally, women, Mhlongo asserted, should seek to change the things they could no longer accept.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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