Gender Equality in the Geothermal Energy Sector: Road to Sustainability

The theme for International Women’s Day is ‘women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’

Gender diversity is vital to deliver more innovative and inclusive solutions for clean energy transitions all over the world. And yet, women represent just 32% of the renewable sector, with gender inequality being the most evident at decision-making levels according to IRENA.

The growing geothermal sector in Africa has the potential to generate social and economic benefits, including employment opportunities. But women need to be visible and mainstreamed throughout the geothermal value chain. They have a crucial role to play in the industry as executives, policy makers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. As highlighted by the UN at the recent ARGeo conference, “African women are key to the geothermal industry’s success.” More significantly, a tangible outcome from the summit was the launch of the ‘African Women Advancing Geothermal’ (AWAG) group to accelerate women’s participation and representation.

Experience shows women bring new perspectives to the workplace and improve collaboration. Additionally, increasing the number of qualified women in an organisation’s leadership yields better performance overall. “Closing the renewable energy gender gap in Africa will create more opportunities for women and help companies foster business development, improve innovation,” said Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC regional director for Eastern Africa. But empowering women not only ensures the success of geothermal projects.

Speaking to the African Report, CEO of TSAVO Elizabeth Rogo emphasised that “leaving a major segment of the population deprives it of diversification of its workforce, social benefits, empowerment of women and in turn of families and communities.” Women’s leadership and contributions will build cleaner and more climate-resilient power sectors that serve all people. Gender integration not only creates opportunities for women, but it also strengthens a sector that supports better health care, education, and entrepreneurial opportunities for everyone – further advancing national development goals.