STRIVING FOR GENDER-EQUAL LEADERSHIP IN THE RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR
With 57% of all EIMS Africa’s employees being female, and 42% holding leadership positions, the company is helping to drive the renewable energy sector’s gender transformation agenda and support the country’s National Development Plan, which aims to reduce inequality by 2030.
Working off the back of the 2022 COBENEFITS report, where it is cited that female employees account for only 14% in South Africa’s renewable energy sector, it is clear that the industry needs pioneers and advocates to change the status quo.
“We envision an energy industry thriving from increased diversity and equality, reaping the benefits of a more balanced workforce that depicts a cross section of cultures and voices. This will enable us to drive the sector’s imperative to deliver access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” explained Fatiema Ahmed, Head of Human Resources, EIMS Africa.
It often falls to women in leadership positions to take up the challenge to spearhead real change, however, as one of the country’s largest South African-owned renewable energy companies, EIMS Africa is not only committed to creating shared value for investors and local communities, but strives for the organisation as a whole to champion for equal gender opportunities, at all levels.
“With one of our organisational values being that of seeking out diversity, having women in key leadership roles continues to be a focus. We recognise the important structural and cultural differences we bring to the table, which ultimately impacts positively on business results. With almost 60% women representation across all levels of our business, we are very encouraged,” added Ahmed.
Despite being vastly underrepresented in the renewable energy sector, it is accepted that women bring a diverse skill–set to leadership roles, helping to create agile, dynamic and robust organisations. Recognising this the recently launched ‘Management Development Programme for Women in Renewable Energy’ undertaken by the sector’s industry associations (SAWEA and SAPVIA), demonstrates the commitment to enhancing skills capabilities of women in leadership.
“This programme is a step in the right direction to ensure that there are enough females who are capacitated to take up more strategic roles across the industry, thereby increasing access for women in the industry, which we will need if this sector is going to meet the country’s growing energy demand,” concludes Ahmed.
Over a decade into South Africa’s renewable energy sector’s existence, it is clearly apparent that the sector is still lagging in sufficient gender diversity. Hence, the industry is actively giving attention to adjust and improve the levels of gender representation, at all levels. One of the ways this is being undertaken is by the formation of the SAWEA/SAPVIA Gender Diversity Working Group.