ON this monumental day of International Women’s Day, the African Energy Chamber is proud to launch a new initiative that not only celebrates women in the energy sector but empowers them too – The African Women Business Energy Network.
As the energy industry expands, so is the need for more women inclusion in it. The African Women Business Energy Network (AWBEN) is a platform created to advocate for women towards career advancement in the energy industry by connecting them and women-owned businesses in the African region to highly competitive market opportunities and multinational buyers. This initiative sees the development of women in the energy industry as imperative.
According to the International Energy Agency, despite making up 39% of the global labour force, women only account for 22% of the traditional energy sector. For management levels, the numbers are even lower. Furthermore, the barriers women face in the energy sector are similar to those they face elsewhere in the economy. However, the challenges of the energy sector are more pressing since the sector is going through a process of transformation; clean energy transitions will require innovative solutions and business models to be adopted and greater participation from a diverse talent pool.
The energy industry lacks representation and AWBEN has been established to tackle these challenges. AWBEN looks to propagate the advancement of women in energy and women-owned businesses in the African continent as well as drive direct business- money into the hands of women in the region. To extend its reach and impact, AWBEN’s key initiatives include inciting collaboration among African women in the energy industry, hosting mentorship programs and empowering women to take ownership of their personal and professional development, offering coaching and sponsorship opportunities for girls in STEM, creating avenues to encourage more African women-participation and leadership roles in the energy industry and leveraging digital technology to enhance participation which coincides with this year’s International Women’s Day theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
“STEM is a major investment to level the playing field for women in the energy industry. The choices imposed upon girls in schools, shape their ambitions as adults. Right from the education curriculum, we need to be intentional with how girls are trained. They shouldn’t be subjected to limitations because of their gender. Be it STEM-related or otherwise, women should be given access to learn as much as their male counterparts – that way, they’ll have equal chances in their careers.” said Grace Orife, Advisory Board member of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of Adelaar Energy.
“We need to empower more African women to benefit from the oil and gas industry, whether we’re talking about opportunities for boots on the ground jobs at drill sites, professional positions, leadership roles or business opportunities for women-owned enterprises” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.
The Chamber is a signatory of the Equal by 30 Campaign and is committed to gender equality initiatives and providing practical support to women to improve representation and tap into the socioeconomic benefits of the industry. Through the African Women Business Energy Network, we will continue to drive our commitment to African women in the energy industry and provide the dedicated platform to provide support.