The 3rd Women in Energy Conference was yesterday opened in Accra with emphasis on the need for organisations to include more women in the energy sector.
It would provide participants with opportunities to network, exchange knowledge, harness the experiences and best practices of female employee associations and enable them to strategise towards the advancement of gender equality and social inclusion in the energy sector.
The Conference was organised by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), with funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MiDA, Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, said the conference had offered women the opportunity to share their experiences on how to grow and develop skills to motivate others.
“Some women who have overcome obstacles and broken barriers also discussed their experiences to educate and motivate others to develop the Energy sector,” he said.
He said, MiDA developed and shared with participants, a strategy document to guide female employee associations to manage and grow their associations.
Mr Eson-Benjamin urged female employee associations to work in pushing for gender equality and women’s leadership to enable both women and men to contribute to productivity and the effectiveness of their respective organisations.
He was optimistic that the conference would deepen participants’ understanding of the challenges and the approaches towards a more enduring solution.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, Mr Lawrence Apaalse, commended MiDA’s Gender and Social Inclusion Unit for taking keen interest in women in the energy sector through their the Internship and Mentoring Programme.
According to him, institutionalising such programmes would encourage females to be interested in pursuing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and “thus increase the number of female STEM professionals in our nation.”
“This conference is a great tool to tackle the challenges at the mid-career level and by the end of the conference, women already in the energy sector will be equipped with skills necessary to make more positive impact and hence give a greater voice in their workplaces,” he said.
Mr Apaalse pledged his organisation’s support towards the Internship and Mentoring programme.
“As long as the focus is on female students in STEM, we will also collaborate with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, to keep the Women In Energy Conference alive,” he said.
The Former Director for the Center for Social and Policy Studies at the University of Ghana, Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, praised MiDA for organising and supporting the conference series since its inception.
According to her, women used to be consumers of energy but are now producers and managers in the energy sector where they are occupying top positions.
BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG