The Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, has said the ministry has begun discussions with stakeholders to develop a stand-alone gender-inclusive policy for the energy sector to map out strategies to further mainstream and integrate gender in the sector.
Dr Adam noted that the local content policy for petroleum upstream sector enjoined industry players to maintain gender balance in their annual recruitment and training programmes, and so the intended policy was part of initiatives being pursued by the ministry to get more women in the sector.
Other initiatives he mentioned were the accelerated oil and gas capacity-building programme being implemented to build critical human resource in the oil and gas industry, and the energy sector career sensitisation for students, particularly females in senior high schools (SHSs), on the career opportunities within the sector.
“So far, 73 students in SHS have been reached, and the Petroleum Commission has determined to achieve 30 per cent of women participation in all training programmes under the capacity-building programmes,” he said during the launch of the Women in Energy (WiE) Ghana in Accra on February 12, 2020.
Dr Adam stated that research showed that women’s participation in the energy sector, which stood at 25 per cent globally, was among the lowest in any sector and only higher than the manufacturing sector which stood at 23 per cent.
Consequently, he said there was no doubt that the wide gender gap existed in the energy sector, especially in Africa, where those technical seats were perceived to be the preserve of men.
He stated that whereas the participation of women was very high in the upstream sector, the trend, however, declined as they moved from middle to top management level.
“Reasons assigned include the fact there are fewer positions to compete for at the top management level, and there is also the perception of lack of highly qualified women for top-level roles. All these stereotypes have been condemned,” he said.
He noted that the Ministry of Energy identified with the mission of WiE Ghana to advocate increased integration of contribution and leadership of women.
However, Dr Adam said, if the country was to achieve greater participation of women at the top leadership level, a number of controversies needed to be appreciated and addressed.
“Top leadership of state energy companies, especially those appointed on political basis, has to change because few women are in active politics, social and cultural barriers that impose other obligations on women by the time they are experienced and this can change if we effectively converge career planning with family planning,” he emphasised.
Also, he said many people, including women, were risk-averse and would often want to be content with the sector they had built their career in.
“The energy sector is risky and less diverse. These are realities and we must be able to address them,” he said.
"So the platform will provide examples of policies, initiatives, how to review your business working processes to make it more favourable to women. More importantly, women in leadership roles will be harnessed."
WiE Ghana is a platform that seeks to advance women’s leadership and participation in Ghana’s energy sector.
Born 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 platform seeks to increase women’s leadership and participation in the energy sector in Ghana towards inclusive development.
In an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, the Chair of the Board of Directors of WiE, Mrs Adelaide Addo-Fening, said to achieve that goal, members of the platform would also advocate an increased number of women in leadership and recognition of the contribution from women in the energy sector.
She said it was not just that women wanted to be at the table, but the sector and the nation missed out on women who were a significant talent pool.
“Research has established that there is a link between having more women and better performance for companies (better risk management, decision at the board level and others), so it’s not good for the sector that it’s not maximising the potential it has,” she said.
She added that the platform would provide more information on how companies could be more gender-balanced because sometimes leaders did not disagree that it was important, but wanted to know how to go about it.
“So the platform will provide examples of policies, initiatives, how to review your business working processes to make it more favourable to women. More importantly, women in leadership roles will be harnessed,” she added.