By Bayonle Adegbola
The Women in Energy Network (WIEN) has called on the next Nigerian President to lay emphasis on gender diversity in his future administration by increasing the number of women at the senior management level of the energy industry including Ministries, agencies, and departments from 12 per cent to 35 per cent.
National President of WIEN, Mrs Funmi Ogbue, made this request on behalf of women in the Nigerian energy sector at a news conference in Lagos.
Ogbue, who was represented by Mrs Charlotte Essiet, member, Board of Trustee, (BoT) WIEN, said this was of utmost importance to the group.
According to her, women’s inclusion in the energy sector could be achieved through the creation of policies and initiatives that promote equal opportunities, gender diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.
Quoting a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Ogbue said that women make up only 22 per cent of the energy industry workforce in Nigeria, and only 12 per cent occupy senior management roles.
She said, “This highlights the need for concerted efforts to promote gender diversity in the sector, and we believe that the incoming administration has a critical role to play in this regard.
“WIEN is committed to working toward the goal of the advancement of women in the energy sector.
“We will look forward to collaborating with the incoming government to create a more equitable and inclusive energy sector and to prioritise the advancement of women in the energy sector,” she said.
According to her, since the creation of the group in 2020, WIEN has been committed to the promotion and advancement of women in the energy sector.
She urged the incoming government to support training and mentoring programmes for women in the industry and encourage public-private partnerships that promote gender diversity in the sector.
The President of WIEN said, “To further impact on women, the group would be empowering more women in the sector in commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day.”
According to her, this will be held on March 24, in Lagos, with the theme: “Programmes & Initiatives for Equitable Access for Women in the Nigerian Energy Industry”.
She said the programme would be done in partnership with ‘The Women in Shell Network’ and ‘Seplat Awesome Women’s Network’.
“Our first two breakfast sessions have successfully brought together women in the industry to discuss the challenges they face and share experiences.
“These sessions have provided valuable insights into the issues affecting women in the sector and we are committed to addressing these challenges through our upcoming event.
“As we all know, the energy industry is critical to the growth and development of Nigeria, and women play an essential role in driving innovation, excellence, and progress in this field.
“In spite of their contributions, women still face significant barriers to entry and advancement in the energy sector. That is why the WIEN 2023 International Women’s Day Breakfast Session is so timely and essential,” Ogbue, said
Also, Chairperson, WIEN International Women’s Day Committee, Mrs Bimbo Onakomaiya, hinted that a mentoring programme for up-and-coming female practitioners in the energy sector would be launched
According to her, the event will engage industry experts, policymakers, and advocates to share insights on the various programmes and initiatives aimed at promoting equitable access for women in the Nigerian energy industry.
“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.
“We have worked tirelessly to empower women through various initiatives and programmes, some of our key activities include, providing training and mentoring opportunities.
“We believe that women need to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the energy sector. So, we have organised training and mentoring programmes that provide women with the tools they need to advance their careers.
“We have also invested in organising networking events because we understand the importance of networking in the energy sector, and we have organised several events that bring women in the industry together to share experiences, build relationships, and create opportunities,” Onakomaiya said.