11 June 2024

Women managers blazing a trail for gender empowerment in South Africa’s energy sector

In a sector long dominated by male leadership, 105 South African women will embark on the global immersion leg of EWSETA’s (Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority) groundbreaking ‘Women Leading in the Energy Sector’ (WLES) programme, in partnership with DUKE Corporate Education and Eskom.

The women participating in the programme are middle managers, executives, SME leaders, and TVET Lecturers. They’ve spent the past nine months gaining invaluable leadership skills ahead of two global immersions that will equip them with the knowledge, skills, and global perspectives necessary to drive positive change in their respective areas of focus.

The senior executive cohort will travel to the United States, a nation where women hold 16% of executive positions in the energy sector, according to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group. By engaging with renowned leaders and subject matter experts, these South African executives will gain invaluable insights into the latest practices, innovation, and leadership strategies, positioning themselves to challenge the status quo upon their return.

Concurrently, a group of middle managers will embark on an immersive journey to Germany, a country leading the way in renewable energy and sustainability. With women occupying 25% of managerial roles in the German energy industry, as reported by the German Energy Agency, this cohort will explore the latest advancements and best practices, fostering a mindset of innovation and sustainable growth.

Mpho Mookapele, CEO of EWSETA, underscores the significance of this initiative: “These remarkable women leaders are embarking on a transformative journey that will enrich their perspectives and equip them with the tools necessary to drive change within the South African energy sector. Their experiences abroad will undoubtedly inspire and empower them to bring a fresh, innovative, and distinctly female leadership perspective to the challenges we face.”

Developed in partnership between EWSETA and Duke Corporate Education, the WLES programme is focused on promoting gender inclusivity and empowering women in leadership roles. By fostering a supportive network and providing access to world-class training and development opportunities, the programme provides a learning journey tailor-made to develop the confidence and leadership prowess of women in the energy sector. Beyond technical expertise, this initiative sets out to nurture self-awareness, refine communication abilities, and cultivate a personal brand presence.

Participants will delve into the nuances of work-life integration, allyship, and advocacy, forging supportive networks while honing critical negotiation skills.

Complemented by rigorous academic modules spanning entrepreneurship, people management, renewable trends, sustainable solutions, and policy frameworks, this holistic approach equips women with the innate abilities to propel meaningful change as empowered leaders.

These inspiring women who are embarking on the final leg of their journeys, carry the hopes of a nation seeking to unlock the full potential of its human capital. It is hoped that their experiences will shape the future of the energy sector in South Africa, paving the way for increased gender diversity, inclusive leadership, and a more sustainable energy landscape for generations to come.

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