PWIP adamant to shift gender dial in energy sector

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World Bank PWIP Task Team leader Helle Buchhave, left, shares a light moment with Ministry of Women permanent secretary Eseta Nadakuitavuki during a photoshoot at the World Bank’s Pacific Women in Power panel discussion held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, on Tuesday, February 27, 2024. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

The World Bank’s Pacific Women in Power (PWIP) program is adamant to help shift the dial in the Pacific energy sector by promoting women’s employment in this perceived male-dominated field.

World Bank PWIP Task Team Leader Helle Buchhave said this program aimed to increase the share of women employed in the Pacific energy sector.

She said this sector must draw on all the talent in the Pacific.

“Pacific Ministers of Energy acknowledge the energy sector must adapt to today’s development opportunities and climate challenges,” Ms Buchhave said.

“This transformation involves advancing toward a climate-aware energy industry — one that embraces sustainability, resilience, and is gender inclusive,” she added.

She said global evidence showed when industries embraced a gender diverse labour force, “it has positive impact on retention, innovation and revenue”.

PWIP collected employment data from 14 energy utilities across the Pacific, and found the average share of female employees at 18 per cent; and majority held administrative roles and less than 6 per cent as technical staff.

Ms Buchhave said they were working with energy utilities and departments of energy to help address some of the barriers to women’s employment that ensured a focus on getting more women employed in technical and leadership roles.

Ministry of Women permanent secretary Eseta Nadakuitavuki said all stakeholders needed to adopt crucial steps to encourage women to enter and stay in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

She said there needed to be a pool for qualified female STEM graduates available to succeed in having more women in the energy sector.

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