Throughout Africa, there’s a growing trend of rising female entrepreneurship. In a traditionally male-dominated culture, there’s been much recent social progress in breaking the glass ceiling. We’re not just seeing it in the West. In NJ Ayuk’s inspiring read, A Just Transition: Making Energy Poverty History with and Energy Mix, he discusses this situation at length in the chapter, Creating Opportunities for Women Empowers All Africans.
Mr. Ayuk mentions that only 15% of the African gas and oil workforce is made up of women, which is about half as many as the average worldwide. Regional violence, poverty, and a lack of education and effort by the companies to foster such people are all factors contributing to this gender gap. This disparity in representation is not only unjust but also means that valuable perspectives and talent are being overlooked in a sector crucial to Africa’s economic growth and sustainable development.
When problem-solving, it’s always best to draw from a diverse array of perspectives. So much social and cultural change comes from thought-leaders and entrepreneurs, and women in such roles need to be given the same level playing field, opportunities, and support as men. In this fight against climate change, it only makes sense to utilize the other half of the population. Otherwise, it’s like recruiting only fifty percent of necessary troops.
But how can this change? How can energy companies recruit women? Or are women limited to creating their own startups? It’s likely going to take shifts in both pathways, according to NJ Ayuk and many other leaders on the forefront of Africa’s energy businesses. The challenges women face are similar and just as frustrating as they are around the world. The workforce has catered to men’s needs for nearly two centuries. More than just a checkbox to be marked, NJ feels this is an issue of morality, and a fight for the soul of African business leaders. Making the continent self-sufficient is a big goal and will only grow Africa’s strength as a global entity in the future. As the world embraces all types of leaders, women should be front and center, standing alongside their male colleagues in this new era.
In addition, banks and lenders need to see the promise of women entrepreneurs as a growing and stable part of the evolving economy. There needs to be an all-hands-on-deck philosophy adopted. Women deserve access to financial resources and supportive networks that can help them start and grow their businesses. Investment in women-led businesses has the potential to drive innovation and create new opportunities in the energy sector and beyond.
Starting at the beginning is a terrific idea. By providing great education, mentorship opportunities, access to start-up funding, and a respectful seat in the boardrooms of energy companies throughout the continent, Africa will be well stocked with all of its best and brightest minds, ready to tackle climate and energy issues head-first. Empowering women just might be one of the most key components to making that happen.
With female entrepreneurs at the forefront, Africa can make significant strides towards a sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future. It’s crucial to foster an environment where women are encouraged and supported to take on leadership roles, make their voices heard, and drive positive change. By harnessing the potential of the continent’s female talent, Africa can create a just and equitable energy transition that benefits everyone. “And when I shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.” Just as the stars illuminate the night sky, empowering women will light up Africa’s path to a brighter and more sustainable future.