Mkhosi with former Energy Minister Peters
ESI Africa’s regular Women in Energy article featured Dr Margaret Mkhosi, South Africa’s first nuclear engineer. Pictured here with former Energy Minister Peters.

In South Africa, women in electricity remain underrepresented in the industry 21 years into the new democratic dispensation, according to Johannesburg City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu, reported Fin24.

Xulu, who also serves as the Association of Municipal Electricity Undertakings (AMEU) president, said he has launched an initiative to boost the role of women in the male-dominated sector as the industry is one of the least transformed in the country.

Xulu said in a statement that: “It is unacceptable that 21 years into the new democratic dispensation [in South Africa], women still play a miniscule role in such a critical sector, which is the driving force of economic growth.

“Women in Electricity will be a programme that needs to be driven by women for women’s advancement.”

Statistics of women in electricity

According to official statistics women constitute a negligible number of professionals in the sector, accounting for only 5% of the total complement of professionals, reported Fin24.

African females are less represented and make up a marginal percentage of the aggregate female population in the sector.

Women in Electricity initiative

Xulu said the Women in Electricity initiative will be outlining an action plan that has programmes, a scorecard and targets to ensure that the acceleration of women in the electricity industry is realised.

In addition, the initiative will work closely with the AMEU, institutions of higher learning and utilities to provide internships to female apprentices with the right skills sets.

Transformation

“Driving transformation and fast-tracking women’s advancement in the sector is a collective undertaking that requires all the role players to play their part to ensure that women participation in the sector is meaningful and is enhanced.

“I am delighted that the AMEU and the industry have shown leadership and put in place the building blocks upon which this lofty ideal will be realised”, concluded Xulu.

Note from the Editor: ESI Africa promotes Women in Energy through a regular feature in the quarterly magazine. Dr Margaret Mkhosi was interviewed in issue 4-2014.