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Featured image: South African Energy Minister, Jeff Radebe. Source: eNCA

On Monday, South Africa’s energy minister Jeff Radebe hosted a dialogue in celebration of women in the energy sector, which also delved into trying to understand their challenges.

“It has been proven and I am convinced that women contribute to and play a significant role in the global economy. Studies have shown that if women played an identical role in labour markets as men, they could contribute between $12 trillion and $28 trillion to global annual gross domestic product. In addition, gender diversity in high-level decision making is shown to correlate with improved business performance and investment,” highlighted Radebe.

The Women in Energy dialogue was led under the theme “100 years of Albertina Sisulu: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”.

Read more: Women in Energy feature: It’s all about the data

The minister underscored that companies with more women on their boards perform better with regards to their return on investment, sales and equity.

“Therefore, investing in the advancement and participation of women in the energy sector labour force is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do as it is an economically viable business decision,” he said.

Women’s executive positions in the sector

Studies conducted in 2015 found that women occupy only 4% of the chair positions on the World Energy Council and 18% of the secretary positions. South Africa is not different from this global picture.

With these figures in mind, Radebe said women are needed to be at the forefront of entrepreneurship and innovative energy solutions in the production, distribution and servicing of energy technologies.

“In South Africa, the role and participation of women in the energy sector as employees, investors, innovators and entrepreneurs is limited. I have been informed that despite legislation being in place to enable the transformation of the energy sector, limited success has been achieved as women and youth are conspicuously absent in the energy,” stated the energy minister.

In conclusion, Radebe said: “I appeal to all stakeholders to use this platform to build on practical, implementable plans and initiatives to support the nurturing of those women who are taking a giant step to participate in the energy sector.”

Read the minister’s full speech here: Minister Radebe speech at Women in Energy Dialogue 20 August 2018