women vastly underrepresented in the energy sector

The energy sector is still male-dominated around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region where women still struggle to find a place in it, says the World Bank who considers “urgent” more equality to support the transition to clean energies.

“The female employment rate in the region is only 20% (less than half the world average) and it is even lower in the energy sector, even though the proportion of female graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields reaches 50%”underlines, in a blog, the financial institution based in Washington.

A recent World Bank assessment shows that in many MENA countries, women represent less than 5% of the workforce in the energy sector, and on average 10% in technical or technical fields. in leadership positions. To help reduce this gap, the international institution intends to launch a network to promote the role of women in the energy sector in the MENA region (RENEW-MENA). Objective: to increase the economic participation of women across the sector’s value chain, improve working conditions in the private and public sectors, combat stereotypes on the role of women in STEM and increase their visibility in the sector.

This network will operate on three axes: facilitating transitions between STEM education and employment; advance recruitment, improve retention of professional talent and facilitate career advancement; and promote entrepreneurship and financial inclusion.

Currently, in countries like Tunisia, the women’s junta is confined to administrative positions or low-skilled jobs, a situation that is explained, according to the same source, by a combination of factors such as ” restrictive social norms, legal obstacles that reinforce gender stereotypes or even a phenomenon of professional segregation”. “While the numbers seem higher in the renewable energy sector, the difference is minimal. For example, in Jordan and Egypt, the gap between the presence of women in renewable energy and in the energy sector in general is only 1%”we continue.

However, this exclusion of women has an enormous cost for the economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, addressing gender inequality could increase the region’s gross domestic product by more than 20%. And that it would also be good for business, because companies with women on their boards are more productive and more profitable. Some reports indicate that companies with 30% women in leadership positions are much more likely to succeed in STEM-related sectors than those with no female representation.

“In this context, promoting equality between men and women in the energy sector should be considered an imperative, and an urgent one at that”underline the authors of the blog who report on the potential of the transition and the development of clean energies in the countries of the MENA region.

The global energy market is estimated to grow by 44% by 2050, with 80% of jobs linked to renewables, compared to 11% linked to fossil fuels and 5% linked to nuclear.

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