Women in Energy Network (WIEN), a network of women working in the upstream, downstream and midstream sectors of the energy industry, has advocated for 35 per cent inclusion of women in the energy sector.
The group believes affirmative action aimed at promoting a more equitable and inclusive energy sector can be achieved through policies and initiatives that promote equal opportunities, gender diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.
President of WIEN, Funmi Ogbue, stated this in Lagos while briefing newsmen on activities lined up by the network to celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 4.
A Board of Trustees member of the WIEN, Mrs Charlotte Essiet, who spoke on behalf of the president also said enormous funding opportunities abound for women entrepreneurs and startups in the energy sector and urged their members to take advantage of the funds.
Among the funds are the $20m (N9.2b) Women in Energy funds created by the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in partnership with NEXIM Bank.
The president noted that women continue to face significant barriers to entry and advancement in the energy sector despite the importance of the sector to the growth and development of Nigeria, adding, “Women play an essential role in driving innovation, excellence, and progress in this field.”
“As we celebrate the progress we have made in advancing the role of women in the energy sector, we are also aware of the challenges that lie ahead. According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, women make up only 22% of the energy industry’s workforce in Nigeria, and only 12% occupy senior management roles. This highlights the need for concerted efforts to promote gender diversity in the sector, and we believe that the new administration has a critical role to play in this regard.”
Chairman of the WIEN IWD session, Bimbo Onakomaiya, also reiterated that the group would continue to push for more inclusive participation of women in the energy sector with the incoming government.
“We started from somewhere, we are going somewhere. Have we achieved what we want to achieve in terms of say 50 %, 40 %, 35% for females, no. It is still a journey and it is a work in progress.
“So it is a new government; it is just coming and we are going to continue to advocate that women be included in the top echelons of the energy industry.”