Women in Energy Short Opinions
Sunday, 7 Mar 2021

On the occasion of International Women’s Day,  ACCEPT has collected the voices of women in energy-climate sector. These opinions are expressed to give a big picture on women in energy-climate sector, as well as to empower other women to take action in just energy transition.

Women’s vital role in energy transition

Nadhilah Shani; Research Analyst of ASEAN Centre for Energy

“Because woman tend to see the problem in helicopter view and this is a skill needed to solve complex problems in pushing the energy transition. Women also have a nature to drive collective actions compared to men which is important strategy in finding solutions to these problems.”

Iqlima Fuqoha; Research Analyst of ASEAN Centre for Energy

“Yes, it is very important the role of women in transitioning the energy to combat climate change. In STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors, there’s an increasing trend of female students. Thus, the women participation in STEM industries will keep rising. Also, if we connect to global leaders in fighting the pandemic, many said they’re more successful than the male leaders. So, it is a good sign if later women would become a significant actor in energy.”

Gabriela Hernández Luna; Teacher/Researcher of CIICAp-UAEM

“Yes, I believe women worried about our places, our home, such a vision very different from men. Thorough history of the most important roles and delicate roles, valuables are designed for women and many of us have been preparing ourselves constantly and at higher levels.”

Adeline Permata Santoso; Operations Intern of Xurya Daya Indonesia

“Yes. Technically, everyone’s role regardless of gender is vital in energy transition. Women’s role is especially vital as women make up 50.1% of the population. It is also vital since women are currently underrepresented in the energy industry, while there are a lot of untapped potential out there that have not been utilized due to social stigma and possibly unsupportive working policies. These issues should be addressed and women should have more incentives and opportunities to develop their potential in order to accelerate the energy transition.”

Michelle Two; Advisor – Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) of PTAS Aker Solutions Sdn Bhd

“As we move towards a low-carbon energy future or energy transition, an industry-wide collaboration is critical. As the number of women working in the energy sector has increased by more than 20 percent in the last two decades, the role of women will be more important moving forward.

In addition, more women are gaining senior management roles in the industry and are key decision makers. Women tend to have a more approachable leadership style, spending more time in consultation and supporting their team members and peers.

The voice of women will enhance diversity in teams, leading to better decision making. I believe women have three key roles as change agents in the energy transition; as professionals, decision-makers and consumers.

As the low-carbon industry is relatively new, there are many opportunities to shape the industry and women could contribute to a range of opinions and ideas which have not yet been heard.”

Aulia Rahmadsyah; Student of Syiah Kuala University

“I think women’s role in energy sector is vital and central because gender equality is increasingly critical nowadays because women have an important role in building the energy sector by providing different ideas and perspectives from men.”

Dinda Fatihana; Student of Institut Teknologi Bandung

“Of course, I think women are vital in energy transition because women are advanced in research methods and data availability that have led to women becoming writer or researcher about energy transition.

Not only that, women are more resistant to work under pressure and more detail-oriented. In this digitalisation era, women have many roles to promote something through social media to promote the importance of Energy Transition and SDGs for future generation.

Like me, currently I’m continuing my Master Degree in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Energy Conversation. I want to do research about the Application of Renewable Energy such as Solar and Wind Power Plants and I want to combine it with Machine Learning to know the potential and the challenges of Renewable Energy in Indonesia as a developing country.”

Beatriz Movido; Student

“Women can bring different skills and perspectives into the industry based on their own experiences, which greatly differ from those of men. Because we seek an equitable and just energy transition, we need the involvement of women and other minorities as well.”

Alicia Carmona L.; Student of BUAP

“The energy transition towards a sustainable, affordable and decarbonized system generates a series of social and economic benefits that must be accessible and distributed to all. Achieving greater gender diversification in a dynamic sector such as renewable energies allow diversifying the workforce at all levels, providing benefits in terms of growth, culture and sustainability. In addition, it guarantees a fair transition when considering all social and economic groups.”

Personal story of contributing to the energy transition

Rinna Santi Sijabat; Oil and Gas Inspector in The Directorate of Engineering and Environment and member in the Standardization of Fuel Specification team, Directorate General of Oil and Gas, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia.

“As an Inspector, I ensure safety equipment, installation, procedure, and operation in oil & gas companies are managed accordingly. As a standardization team, I am involved in the establishment of national standard for fuel (oil and gas) specification.”

Datin Fatia Umar, Prof. Dr. Ir. MT; Senior Researcher of R&D Centre for Mineral and Coal Technology, The Agency of R&D for Energy and Mineral Resources, The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia

“Worked at Tekmira since 1975 as an analyst in the coal laboratory and as a researcher since 1992 with expertise in fuel and combustion, especially in the field of coal processing and utilization. Many studies have been carried out which are primarily aimed at the use of coal as a clean fuel through clean coal technology, among others:

  • Coal water mixture technology to make coal have a physical characteristic as a fluid so that it is easy to be transported and used as a liquid fuel such as fuel oil.
  • Coal beneficiation technology to reduce impurities in coal, especially ash and sulphur. Sulphur is known as an element that can pollute the environment if coal is used as a direct fuel.
  • Upgrading technology, to improve the quality of low rank coal through the decreasing of moisture content so that the heating value increases. By increasing the heating value, the combustion efficiency will increase so that the amount of coal to reach a certain energy will decrease which also has an impact on reducing emissions due to coal burning, especially CO2 gas emissions.
  • Coal gasification technology, both as a fuel for power generation and as a feedstock for the chemical industry. The conversion of coal into gas is very interesting especially if it is used as a feedstock for the chemical industry such as methanol, ethanol, DME etc.

Aside from being a researcher, also as a lecturer at the polytechnic of energy and mining (PEP Bandung), a lecturer in various courses held both internally Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) and privately, speakers at various domestic and foreign seminars, active as journal reviewers both nationally and internationally and also as a member of the Board of Judge (BOJ) for the ASEAN Coal Award.”

Hannah E. Murdock; Project Manager & Analyst, Research Direction of REN21

“Hydraulic fracturing in Texas first sparked my interest in the energy world just as the US “shale boom” was taking off. However, I soon began focusing on renewable energy and policies supporting the energy transition.

I began working with REN21 in Paris as momentum was building toward COP21 and from that point on have had the opportunity to participate in international climate processes. I have also been coordinating the Renewables Global Status Report each year, making the latest global data and information on renewable energy publicly available for diverse actors working on the energy transition, providing policy recommendations, building partnerships, and shaping the conversation around renewables.

I am proud to contribute to the energy transition in these ways, as well as communicating about the importance of the transition in my everyday interactions with the broader public.”

Emilia Janisz; External Relations Manager of European Nuclear Society.

“I am an active member of Women in Nuclear group where one of the important goals is to attract more women to nuclear and particularly more girls to STEM subjects. The equal opportunities are maybe available but how we rise our girls, how we teach them predicts their study and career choices. The energy sector should be more inclusive and offer more opportunities for female managers to take leadership positions. Strong mentoring and networking programmes as well as awareness of gender inequality among top managers. Men and women should work together to achieve the well gender balance share at workspace at many different positions. The quotas change the share.”

Kristine Urquia; Communications of GIZ.

Raising awareness about energy efficiency and renewable energy”

Beverly Abwonji; Co-founder of Sunduka.eco

“Co-founding a new start-up has been one of the biggest challenges but a necessary step to contribute to the energy access for people in Kenya and hopefully further around East Africa. I was fortunate to be accepted onto a program (The Renewables Academy) and I’m continuously learning and building networks in the renewable energy industry.

My co-founder and I hope to realise our pilot this year and get more funding to expand the mini-grid off grid solar power solutions for rural communities and the informal commercial sectors where a growing need lies. Access to energy is a fundamental right. I hope to continue this mission and create more partnerships.”

Anggraeni Kusuma Wardani; Teacher, Researchers

I was involved in the environmental field when I was in college. I became a coordinator and environmental activist, collaborating and organizing campaigns and various activities to reduce pollution and waste utilization. Collaboration with PT. Indonesia Wise in conducting a survey on the implementation of ecotourism in Yogyakarta. Conducting research on environmentally friendly renewable energy, namely making third generation bioethanol by utilizing seaweed sources.”

Khatijah Sofia Surya Putri Suharyanto; Copywriter and Social Media Manager of Adidaya Initiative

“Being a job seeker during this pandemic is a distinctive challenge. While I’m waiting for a job interview call, I decided to be a volunteer as a copywriter and social media manager at Adidaya Initiative, which is a youth community focus on promoting renewable energy usage on social media platform.

Almost every day, I search and write the latest, unique, and attractive news about renewable energy in an easy-to-understand manner using an info graphic method. Its goal is to be a popular media that can bring this topic as an inclusive topic in youth then they raise their awareness of the importance of renewable energy and will give their contribution in energy transition actively.

I think this is a very simple contribution, but I believe this can deliver more impact among Adidaya’s followers. It has proved by the rise of Adidaya’s bi-weekly discussion participants and social media followers in 5 months.”

Women overcoming the challenges in men-dominated working environment (esp. energy sector)

Laksita Gayuhaningtyas; Project Finance of Akuo Energy

“There are several ways on making women to be successful in energy sector. Providing the same opportunity for both women and men for becoming the leader in the sector, support and encouragement from colleagues and senior colleagues or even mentoring from women’s role model in energy sector. The more important thing is a policy to be created that could provide flexibility for women to work so that we can manage our work and nurture our children well.“

Anissa Nur Irmania; Project Manager of Akuo Energy

“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is a challenge that will require additional effort just to be seen and to be heard. One thing I learned to survive in a male-dominated environment is to not be afraid to speak your voice. Whatever thoughts, opinions, or advices you have, speak up and do not afraid to say no.”

Aishah Daniyal; Coal Procurer of TNB Fuel Services Sdn Bhd

“Leverage on empathy skillsets that women have. Put effort in presenting ideas during energy related conferences. Mentor other women. Engage with audience in social media platform.”

Jasmin Haider; Policy Officer

“I believe it is essential to increase solidarity among women to overcome challenges in male dominated working environments. It is not about excluding men, but rather about supporting one another from woman to woman, seeing each other less as competitors but more as sisters, as a source of inspiration and learn from one another.

I believe female energy leaders have some sort of responsibility in this regard towards young women who reach out to them wanting to enter the energy sector. I think it’s important for those young women to feel that they are welcome, supported and heard because we cannot afford losing another woman’s interest in accessing the energy sector. Quite the opposite, we’re in desperate need for more female engagement in the energy sector. “

Eduarda Zoghbi; Energy and Gender Consultant of SEforALL

“The first step is trying to involve more women in the energy sector, starting from the bases. Energy is not pitched as a professional option for high school students nor college. Women both in STEM and non-STEM courses should receive extracurricular straining, participate in hackathons and competitions that are tailored to women so they can become interested in solving challenges in the energy sector.

Once they enter the industry as young professionals, they must have access to mentorship and professional development. Organizations on the other hand, must offer flexible work conditions and HRs have to make job offerings gender equal and establish quotas. Women have to receive incentives to grow in their energy career to join boards and other leadership positions.

It works like a ladder, and the more advanced you are in your energy career, the more responsibility you have to elevate younger women so we can change this male-dominated sector together.”

Sarah Ridhuwan; Vice President, Head of Performance and Transformation, Subsea Asia Pacific of Aker Solutions Malaysia

“The energy sector, previously male-dominated, has been changing gradually. When I first started working as a project manager in the subsea sector about 10 years ago, it was uncommon for a woman to hold a leadership position. The environment has evolved, I now have subordinates, male and female with many years of experience.

Many companies in the energy industry have taken initiatives to build a balanced work environment, including ensuring gender diversity. In Aker Solutions, about 24% of our leadership globally is female and there are conscious efforts to build gender diversity into all areas of our organization.

There are three key factors which help me face challenges at work. Firstly, being resilient, take all challenges as learning and continue to improve. Secondly, be pragmatic, know yourself and your limitation and get the support needed. Thirdly, build a support system at work and at home. I have mentors who guide me and an understanding family who support my career choices.”

Outlook of women’s role in energy transition

Theresia Betty Sumarno; Energy Policy Consultant of International Institute for Sustainable Development

“I personally think that women have significant role in the energy transition. Naturally, most women are multi-talented and could see things from different perspectives. Even more significant, in household sectors, women use more energy than the men. Meaning that their willingness to replace their energy sources – let’s say from kerosene/gas to electric stove, will significantly influence the transition, especially in a populated country such as Indonesia.

In terms of leadership, I think most women have very good leadership because of their approach. When a woman has a leadership role in the energy transition, they somehow could balance their views (this is not saying that men do not do the same).”

Anne-Maria Yritys; Business Owner of Yritys Executive Services

“I have been researching and writing about the (global) energy sector and I did established Global Climate Change Think & Act Tank back in 2016. As a consumer of green energy personally, I see that women have the opportunity to be leaders in terms of the implementation of renewable energy.

If not working in the energy sector, women can still vote with their actions i.e., by choosing to consume renewable energy in their household. Women can also influence key decision makers and actively seek to become active members in the energy sector.“

Annisa Sekar Larasati; Chemical Engineering Student of Society of Petroleum Engineers

“The energy sector is often seen as a “men’s territory”. Rarely do women’s roles appear and receive the spotlight as actors in the energy sector, especially in Indonesia.

In fact, women have the same strategic role as men in developing renewable energy. Women even play a key role as agents of change in behavior change in the energy transition sector. For example, as a determinant, women play a major role in energy efficiency and emission reduction efforts at the home scale, such as conserving electricity and water, and reducing household wastes.

On the other hand, women are also vulnerable to the impacts, both positive and negative, of energy use. In terms of access to renewable energy, both in the form of access to information and technology, women should also get the same portion as men.

Access to information, for example, can provide women with an understanding of the type of energy that suits their needs. Access to technology can provide opportunities for women to play a greater role in energy efficiency and transition. The greater the access and involvement of women in the energy transition, the more other women will be helped and ultimately will support the faster energy transition to the site level.”

Nur Akashah Nadhirah Afifah Binti Razali; Energy Enthusiast

“I see a future where women of all expertise working together in efforts of a better and improved energy transition.”

Equal opportunities for women to gain green jobs

Adiatie Suciningtyas; Sales engineer of Azbil Berca Indonesia.

“I don’t think that there’s real implementation of it. Opportunities are open not concerning gender, but the selection is made by taking gender into consideration. Company directors would assume that women workers with certain age range would not last longer in the company until they have their first child.

In my opinion, it is very unfortunate that women especially engineers are being singled out by what the social expect them to behave and decide, and not by their value now in the present as productive human resources. Moreover, even though it is true that most mothers would prefer to be available for their child until the golden age, if those women are good talents, why can’t we contribute our skill and knowledge in other role in the business?”

Afifah Eleksiani; Energy Consultant of PT Inovasi Dinamika Pratama

“For certain high-level positions, yes. With similar competencies, I think women can compete with men as long as they are given the equal opportunities. I think many green jobs now eliminate the requirement of certain gender.

Nonetheless, still there is a chance that women are still underestimated. For example in a forum, your opinion at times might be deemed irrelevant or unimportant just because you are a woman even though that tendencies are implicitly shown/ indirectly in a high-level forum.

However, different cases are often witnessed in project-level involving field works especially which require physical works. Regardless the capability they have, women are often seen less capable for doing such works.”

Lydia Mawar Ningsih; Ph.D. student  of Czech University of Life Science Prague

“In my opinion, women have gained equal opportunities to work in green field (energy sector), because there are so many women who have contributions in energy sector (as worker, as scientist, as lectures, as a volunteer, etc). Women are the best partners to brain-storm with and take actions in all parts of the energy field.”

Women empowerment to be the key in increasing energy access and successful energy transition

Arnida Arsam; Senior Manager, Floating Facilities Projects, Performance and Transformation of Aker Solutions

“A famous proverb from Africa states, “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation”. The reason behind the proverb is that women educate a new generation through nurturing. I had the privilege 20 years ago to volunteer in Namibia, Africa, and saw how passionate the women there wanted to improve their communities for the future.

Women know best the needs of the communities they live in. Therefore, empowering her with education and knowledge of energy development and technology will enable farther accessibility of energy in her community. When women are empowered, she will be able to influence policies to be more inclusive and sustainable as the needs of communities are taken into consideration. Never underestimate small actions, because small actions lead to great impacts.”

Putu Eka

“I think women empowerment is necessary to achieve the energy transformation (from fossil fuel to renewable/clean energy). By educating women, I always believe that it means that you educate the whole family as women (as wife, as mother) plays important part in the household. So, it’s an important factor to consider. “

Integration of gender equality in the national energy policy and/or countries’ NDC.

Lylene Belle M. Carcedo; Media and Marketing Head of CYA.

“I think gender equality has been integrated okay and better in national energy policy and/or country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

A clean energy economy will generate new industries and jobs in manufacturing, construction, science and engineering, and much more. And if we do it right, it will also enhance gender pay equality.

Let’s not transfer the gender pay gap of the traditional economy to the new green economy. Getting a green job shouldn’t depend on one’s gender, race, or sexual orientation. A clean energy economy does not exclude women who cannot afford day care‚ it provides it.

Without the social dimension, endeavours to grow a smart and environmentally sustainable economy will be incomplete. A new clean economy will remove the barriers of discrimination and will ensure equal access and quality education and training for girls, boys, women, and men.

But we’re not quite there yet. It is encouraging that the United States‚ along with Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom‚ is leading a Clean Energy Education and Empowerment initiative to encourage women to join clean energy disciplines as one of 11 initiatives of the Clean Energy Ministerial.

The initiative connects women with role models and mentors, provides scholarships, internships, and other opportunities for women in clean energy studies, and academic and industry research opportunities. The goal is to take cooperative steps toward a world where women across societies are in a position to actively contribute to the clean energy revolution to an equal degree as men.

Despite the current employment disparities and a gender-unbalanced economic recovery, green jobs still hold potential for increasing accessibility and equity for women’s employment. A new publication by the U.S. Department of Labor, “A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career”, emphasizes the diverse range of opportunities for women to participate in the green economy. The guide discusses seven reasons why green jobs are good for women, including the opportunity for women to earn more money, build skills, and gain entry into a growing, global industry with opportunities for innovation entrepreneurship.”

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