Senegal is making strides to promote female inclusion in the energy sector

female inclusion in the energy sector- cleanbuild

Senegal is making strides to promote female inclusion in the energy sector

Energy poverty still remains one of the single biggest challenges preventing faster economic development throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is even more glaring in rural areas where women, though stewards of the household’s economy, lack access to clean energy for cooking, lighting, heating, and other domestic use.

Interestingly, it’s been noted that resetting the gender dynamic in the energy sector increases the uptake of clean energy not only in urban areas but also in peri-urban and remote rural areas. How so?

When it comes to the home and communities, women are heavy consumers of energy. As natural-born entrepreneurs, women are able to dedicate time to profitable activities which could be starting a small business, selling crafts, or working in the local store.

Since women are the biggest drivers of MSMEs across sub-Saharan Africa, it makes sense for any country making electrification plans to involve women, cater to their needs, and get them to participate in the energy sector. This is what Senegal aims to achieve.

Female inclusion in the energy sector: A matter of national importance

Currently, the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa remains largely male-dominated, with far too few women in leadership positions. It is estimated that women currently represent less than one-quarter of the energy sector workforce globally, and this trend is no different in emerging markets.

Some of the impediments towards female inclusion in the energy sector include a lack of awareness of the opportunities in energy-related fields, as well as limited access to resources to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education needed to enter and thrive in the sector.

To address this, the Government of Senegal has made energy sector development a key component of the , which aims to modernize the country´s economy and achieve a wide number of ambitious socio-economic development objectives, as well as ensuring greater gender equality.

In Senegal, one of the single most influential voices advocating for greater inclusion of women in the energy sector value chain is the current Minister of Petroleum and Energies H.E. Aissatou Sophie Gladima, who has taken a proactive approach towards local content and providing greater opportunities for women in energy.

According to the African Energy Chamber’s , the local content and women empowerment that has been key to the agenda of Minister Aissatou Sophie Gladima will only benefit the energy industry because opportunity and jobs are better than development aid.

Making a case for equitable access to renewable energy through initiatives

In collaboration with initiatives like Power Africa, the government of Senegal and to support young women professionals in the oil and gas and power sector as they champion greater gender equality in the industry.

The Power Africa, USAID initiative is making a particular effort to maximize the participation of women in the energy sector all over Africa, and in Senegal in particular. For example, in March 2020, 40 young female professionals from 17 Francophone countries across Africa participated in the YALI-Power Africa Young Women in African Power Leadership Training that was held in Dakar, Senegal.

The goal of the program is to facilitate the participation of women in energy sector careers, providing insight on modern energy trends, sharpening leadership skills, and empowering these women to take on new roles and challenges as they progress in their energy sector careers.

The Senegalese government has also partnered with Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organization that works with local businesses to extend access to energy in Africa. It is working with other NGOs that promote and protect women´s rights in Senegal through the Energy Opportunities for Women in Senegal Project.

Through this initiative, the government aims to supply rural communities in Senegal with sustainable, efficient energy as well as increase women´s contribution across the entirety of Senegal´s energy value chain.

Senegal’s path to promote female inclusion in the energy sector is a clarion call to other African countries to equally forge their own path in addressing disparity in energy access.

By empowering women as leaders, supporting them as clean energy entrepreneurs while increasing the presence of sustainable energy sources for women as consumers, Africa will be well-positioned to significantly reduce energy poverty. More so, the continent will be able to meet its target of achieving net-zero emission

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