The Deputy Energy Minister of Energy has said the Ministry is embarking on a number of initiatives to encourage and promote women’s participation in the sector.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam said a wide gender gap exists in the energy sector particularly in Africa where most technical disciplines are perceived to be the preserve for men.

“Research shows that women participation in the energy sector at 25% globally is among the lowest in any sector and only higher than the manufacturing sector at 23%.

“In spite of this low participation, strong evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between women participation and improved company performance. It is important to note therefore that wherever you have increased women participation, the results can be astounding.”

He was speaking at the launch of Women in Energy (WiE) Ghana, a platform for individuals and companies committed to advancing women leadership and participation in the energy sector.

Dr Amin Adam at Women in Energy launch

The 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 group said to increase women’s leadership and participation in the sector members will also advocate for increased numbers of women in a leadership position.

This, WiE Ghana said will be in recognition of the contribution from women in the energy sector.

Supporting the cause, the Deputy Energy Minister said, “it was important to get women to be actively involved in the energy sector to boost the productivity of the energy sector.”

According to him, the Energy Ministry has identified the contribution of WiE Ghana to advocate for increase integration, contribution and leadership of women in the energy sector.

As a result, the ministry is embarking on various initiatives to promote and encourage female inclusion in the energy sector.

Dr Amin Adam at Women in Energy launch

“The ministry is pursuing a number of initiatives such as the energy sector career sensitisation, an effort to sensitise particularly the females in senior high schools on the career opportunities within the sector. Seventy-three schools have got that now,” he said.

Dr Adam added that in order to achieve proper female inclusion in the energy sector, it was important to involve women in all training programmes that go on within the sector to make the females equally equipped as the males.

“As a latent oil and gas capacity building programme being implemented to build critical manpower for the oil and gas industry and to promote the enrollment of female candidates in particular.  

“Under this programme, the petroleum commission has determined to achieve 30 per cent of women participation in all training programmes and particularly, training programmes that are about to take off soon at the Jubilee Technical training centre.

“Local policy of petroleum upstream sub-sector implores industry players to maintain gender balance in their annual rudiment and training programmes,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said his ministry is in talks with players in the energy sector, encouraging them to maintain gender balance in the sector.

However, he noted that for these plans to be fully achieved to promote gender inclusivity in the energy sector, certain challenges need to be addressed.

Dr Amin Adam at Women in Energy launch

“Number one, top leadership of state energy companies especially is appointed on political basis often targeting people participating in partisan politics. But few women are in active partisan politics, so this has to change,” he said.

He also added that social and cultural barriers had to be breached to allow women inclusion in the energy sector.

“Number two, social and cultural barriers in our context impose other obligations on women by the time they are very experienced and take up the initiate, this can change if we effectively converge career planning with family planning.”

And lastly, he encouraged women to be risk-takers, as he had identified the fear of risk-taking as a shortcoming for the female gender especially.

“And three, many people including women have risk as fears, and often want to be content with the sector they have built their career in rather than trying others. But there are others who also want a career that gives them diversity so they can shift jobs when other jobs fail.

But the energy sector, particularly, oil and gas, is both risky and less diverse and so we know that those women who hold top leadership in the oil and gas have moved from other sectors but hardly will you find women in the oil and gas sector move to other sectors,” he explained.

“So these are realities and we must be able to respond to these challenges if we want to increase women participation in the oil and gas industry,” he stressed.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam threw a challenge to leaders in the sector to come together as a collective to promote female inclusion in the industry as against waiting for a legislative framework.