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Steps are being taken to increase number of women in energy sector

OPINION
By Mary Maalu | September 20th 2021

Corporate & Regulatory Services Director at KenGen, Mary Maalu. [Courtesy]

 

Earlier this year, the Global Gender Gap Index released by the World Economic Forum placed Kenya at position 95 among 156 countries.

Compared to the country’s ranking in 2006, this position was a drop of 22 points, having been ranked 73 in the first index. However, position 95 was an improvement compared to 2020, where the country was ranked number 109.  

According to the report, Kenya scores considerably well when ranked against other African countries on social and economic dimensions but not as high on empowerment and representation.

Yet, the Constitution requires that the representation of either gender in public bodies and even elective positions shall not exceed two-thirds with the minority having at least 33  per cent of what is now popularly referred to as the two-thirds gender rule.

According to the African Development Bank and ENERGIA country brief on gender and energy, when it comes to data representation, employment and decision-making in the sector, 35 per cent of the total number of staff and 15 per cent of the technical leadership positions in the Ministry of Energy’s headquarters are occupied by women.

The report further states that Kenya has showcased inspiring examples of women’s involvement in senior leadership positions.

Pink energy

Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has been making deliberate efforts towards gender inclusion. Today, with credit to a gender mainstreaming programme dubbed Pink Energy Initiative, the company has gone a long way in creating change and enhancing the potential of women. 

Earlier this year, the initiative was awarded the annual trailblazer award by the government through the Ministry of Public Service and Gender during the International Women’s Day celebrations for promoting gender mainstreaming and women empowerment. 

The milestone was cemented by a recent organisational health survey by KPMG that revealed an impressive 70 per cent score where employees at KenGen felt more motivated thanks to initiatives like pink energy and other diversity inclusions programmes. 

Looking at the strides made towards augmenting gender mainstreaming in the energy sector, in November 2019, the Ministry of Energy unveiled a gender policy that seeks to bolsters efforts towards raising the level of gender awareness, changing attitudes and inculcating an engendered work culture among staff in the energy sector. 

The policy also focuses on integrating gender, considering the needs of both men and women in all ministry segments through gender analysis and integrating them into energy planning. The blueprint document also serves to strengthen institutional capacities for gender mainstreaming as the foundation for gender-sensitive project formulation, implementation and impact evaluation of all energy projects in the country.

 Ms Maalu is Corporate & Regulatory Services Director at KenGen PLC and Patron, Pink Energy

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