NAIROBI, Kenya May 23 – Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Prof Margaret Kobia has challenged organisations to offer support for women leadership in the energy sector, adding that institutions need to adopt innovative ways to push for the advancement and participation of women for sustainable development.
Speaking at the inaugural KenGen’s Pink Energy Conference the CS noted that women are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design.
“Trends indicate a growing gender divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. The potential for change remains in the far horizon as women are scarce in engineering and other technical fields,” the CS observed.
She however, pointed out that there were innovative ways empowering women especially in the area of sustainable infrastructure, and was therefore vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape the future. “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are interlinked and their achievement requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions,” Prof. Kobia added.
On her part, KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano, said advancement of women was critical to business success. “Companies with women in leadership outperform their competitors, with McKinsey study finding a 55 percent increase in average company earnings before interest and tax,” she said.
Miano noted that while most organizations had attempted to change the exclusive work environment, systematic barriers affecting advancement of women still existed.
She decried existing societal forces and policies which perpetuate assumptions and stereotypes deterring women from pursuing leadership roles in the corporate world. “Legislation and policies related to employment equity, human rights, access to affordable day-care and reproductive rights have profound impact on the ability of women to advance in the workplace,” she added.
The MD said KenGen had made a deliberate effort to uplift the status of women through the Pink Energy initiative and which had created change and enhanced the potential of women in the organization.
KenGen has, among other achievements, established lactation rooms named ‘Mothers’ Den’ at its head office and geothermal business area with plans to roll them out to other areas.
The conference was also attended by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK), MaryJane Mwangi, National Employment Authority Board Chairperson, Winnie Pertet, Colonel Joyce Sitienei and former Director of the KenGen Board, Dorcas Kombo.
The half-day conference, whose theme is, “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, provides an opportunity for women from KenGen and the energy sector to network and build fruitful relationships that are beneficial both at individual and corporate level.
KenGen is the leading electricity generation company in Eastern Africa with a market share of about 70 per cent. The company’s primary business is to provide affordable and dependable electric energy for the country in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner while creating value for its stakeholders.