There is a growing trend in renewable energy and how women are promoting these activities in Nigeria.
While the industry is welcoming more women leaders, its rank-and-file workforce is still dominated by men.
Specifically, the IUCN’s Global Gender Office (GGO), says Energy initiatives can shift gender paradigms by promoting the empowerment of women, as these initiatives can have the ability to increase income-generating opportunities for women, reduce hunger and poverty levels, and enhance women’s social and political status.
It says increasing women’s participation in policy dialogues, ensuring equal access to co-benefits generated by mitigation options, opening the renewable energy and energy efficiency labor forces to women, and un-tapping new investment opportunities through increasing women’s participation as investors, will both support effectiveness of mitigation actions and pave the way toward gender equality in the energy sector.
Lande Abudu, the Executive Secretary, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body for Renewable energy companies in Nigeria, believes that with the proper capacity, women have the capability to be key energy managers, contributors and beneficiaries of renewable energy and efficiency projects.
According to her, evidence from many sectors suggests that integrating women into all levels of the energy value chain will lead to more effective clean energy initiatives, unleash greater return on investments, and expand emission reduction opportunities.
“We have the Women in Renewable energy platform under REAN where we have a professional development program through which we want to encourage women to come into the sector.
“We hold quarterly Roundtable where women will be able identify where they have issues in terms of gender.
“For instance, we identify Primary Healthcare Centres, a lot of which are not electrified and you know it’s mostly women that work there and also in terms of maternal health where Nigeria was ranked poor in Infant Mortality and Maternal Death.
“So, it’s very important for us in terms of gender inclusion.
“A lot of those things accelerate our activities. We are open and happy to collaborate with others.
“People will say that “oh, whoever thought about women networking?”. Yes, we network to support one another in economic and financial inclusion, capacity building among others.
“We want to have more women in top management. Those are the things that we are passionate about. The ultimate goal is to improve the hiring process to include more women in clean energy,” she told Petrolgas Report.
Speaking further, she said access to finance remains a major challenge for the alternative energy industry.
“The Access to finance is also an important factor. The Renewable energy cause is not a one day thing but a work in progress just like I said the last time. We’re networking with different people.
“There’s a lot of funding that could be got and we all want to work together to make Nigerian developers independent. We don’t want to depend on grants.
“We’re already discussing how to stand alone and be able to sustain ourselves which is a good development. We’re looking for funding but not in terms of grants,” she added.
Industry observers believe women are an underutilized resource in both climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives.
According to them, failure of nations to recognize the full potential of women will result in lost opportunities to achieve multiple benefits across the energy sector.