Adrienne Westman, CEO, Top Alliance Group; Megan Rodgers, Director and Sector Head of the Oil and Gas Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys; Yolanda Mabulo, CEO and Director at Divaine Growth Solutions; Hon. Dr Nobuhle Pamela Nkabane, Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa; Shapwanale Mwanyengwa, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Recon Africa and Hon Mrs. Magna Mudyiwa, Deputy Minister for Energy and Power Development Zimbabwe.
As Africa is embracing the participation of women in the energy sector, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 has identified and is already advancing the involvement of key female players in the sector through panel dialogues.
A roundtable brunch session, sponsored by Recon Africa, was one of the exclusive panels at the event that focused on the involvement of female pioneers in the energy sector.
The Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Recon Africa, Shapwanale Mwanyengwa, moderated the Women in Energy roundtable. Panelists included Hon. Dr Nobuhle Pamela Nkabane, Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa; Megan Rodgers, Director and Sector Head of the Oil and Gas Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys; and Yolanda Mabulo, CEO and Director at Divaine Growth Solutions.
In response to how women should develop their leadership capabilities at each stage of their career and navigate the predominantly male-dominated energy industry, Mabulo said, “It goes back to mentorship – let’s mentor our young girls so they are comfortable of who they are, and it is okay to make mistakes because that’s how we grow, it’s an opportunity for us to grow, let us not allow them to fall through the cracks that we fell on as leaders of today.”
The AEW 2021 platform also focused on creating opportunities and strengthening business outcomes by promoting operative engagement for women in the energy sector. Furthermore, the panellists resolved to deploy strategic measures to increase internal gender equality and strengthen women’s economic opportunities.
Hon. Dr. Nkabane said: “If we see that there are interventions and improvements, as well as policy reforms, that are trying hard to make sure that there is transformation in our sectors and society, as well as the entire continent and SADC countries, as women – we then embrace that because what we need is real transformation. We want more women to invade the space because before we were not given those opportunities. So it is our time; it is now.”
As more companies are racing to meet the workforce needs of a rapidly growing sector, integrating gender-inclusive practices is of critical importance.
Adding to how women can increase their business performance and social impact, Rodgers said: “If you can just tap into your power, find your voice, know your worth [then you can] add value.”
The women-only roundtable brunch at AEW 2021 also paid special attention to increasing women’s employment status in-field staff positions such as female engineers and architects within the energy sector.