Renewable energy companies are ecstatic that South Africa has signed a R58 billion renewable energy deal to replace nuclear plants. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA.
Renewable energy companies are ecstatic that South Africa has signed a R58 billion renewable energy deal to replace nuclear plants. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA.

More women needed in SA’s green industry

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Jul 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Stakeholders in the province’s green industry responded to the virtual launch of the Empowerment of Women in the Green Industry Policy Assessment Report that aims to increase women leadership and participation in the green industry, as well as integrate gender and green industry policies.

The assessment report was drafted in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), UN Women, and the German government.

DTIC deputy minister Nomalungelo Gina welcomed the report.

“We are approaching Women’s Month in August with a sharp focus on women’s issues. The issues that have surfaced here today ought to be carried through by all stakeholders during this month so that they do not remain within the elite and highly educated women only.”

DTIC spokesperson Bongani Lukhele said some of the key findings of the assessment report included that the number of policies reviewed did not include adequate and concrete measures to address gender equality and women empowerment and the need to conduct gender analysis to ensure the differential needs of women were included in policies and programmes.

BTE Renewables director Libby Hirshon said they fully supported the gender mainstreaming strategy in the report, as it not only aimed to achieve gender equality, but also to achieve women empowerment.

“We actively strive to be an industry leader in these respects – both in terms of green industry and in terms of empowerment of women. Over 50% of our staff are female, and 40% of our executive team are female.

“As far as we are aware, this assessment clarifies the economic and social barriers facing women in the economy and allows for clarity of focus on how to address these and ensure that the goal of gender equality is met,” said Hirshon.

Atlantis SEZ spokesperson Ursula Wellmann said: “A “Just transition” is not possible without intentional gender mainstreaming, also ensuring the racial fault lines of our country’s history are not duplicated, against a green growth trajectory.

“Increasing the advancement and empowerment of women as green entrepreneurs and professionals will grow socio-economic impact and the societal fabric of our communities towards a more equitable future for all.“

Sustainable Energy Markets, Energy and Climate Change director Leila Mahomed-Weideman said the inclusion and diversification of skills were always welcomed as it helped to build resilience and sustainability.

“The City’s Sustainable Energy Markets Department, which looks at the future of energy and our response to climate change, is more than 60% female. This sector is growing and presents many opportunities for job creation and business development, and we encourage women and youth to enable themselves to participate in this forward-looking industry,” said Mahomed-Weideman.

Mahomed-Weideman said the City supported the green industry directly and indirectly through GreenCape, Atlantis Special Economic Zone, the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre and the South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator.

Lukhele urged more organisations and women to come on board and provide much needed support for their goal. Interested participants were encouraged to email Ilze Baron ([email protected]).

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