The Gender and Social Inclusion Directorate of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has announced key interventions that will ensure women are adequately engaged to help improve the country’s energy sector.
Among the initiatives is an internship and mentorship programme for female students in the fields of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM), who will be nurtured and groomed to become attractive to employers in the sector.
MiDA’s Internship and Mentoring Programme seeks to prepare female students of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) in various tertiary, vocational/technical and training institutions to become employable in the power sector.
A total of 50 female students drawn from five institutions – namely Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Accra Technical University (ATU), Koforidua Technical University (KTU), Akwatia Technical Institute (KTI) and Kumasi Technical University – have been selected for the pilot.
The beneficiaries will be taken through two months of paid internship and capacity building in the offices of MiDA’s project-implementing partners: such as the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Energy Commission (EC) and Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
MiDA’s Director for Gender and Social Inclusion, Dr. Cherub Antwi-Nsiah, addressing journalists in Accra said the interventions are aimed at addressing gender inequality in the power sector to make it more productive, and they fall within the Power Compact II’s goal to promote economic growth and poverty reduction.
She said: “We have very few women in key decision-making positions in various institutions of the energy sector, due largely to the lack of educational capacity, absence of role-models and workplace discrimination that makes the sector unattractive to females.
“But if we want the energy sector to be more effective, we have to ensure that there is gender balance.”
This, she said, will facilitate increased access to energy services to promote socio-economic development.
The directorate also intends to assess gender situations across organisations in the power value chain, especially the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), toward the formulation of a workplace policy that will address the concerns of women in the sector.
Such a policy will consider issues of sexual harassment, training and promotion opportunities, women’s progress up the employment ladder as well as ensuring that women get adequate equipment and protective gear, just like their male counterparts, to make them productive workers.
“To retain female employees in the energy sector, the environment should be conducive and enabling. This means they should have access to things that will make them feel comfortable and to be productive workers,” Dr. Antwi-Nsiah indicated.