Kyari Restates Commitment to Gender Equality

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By Funmi Ogundare

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari has reiterated the corporation’s commitment to integrating more women into the oil and gas sector.

Kyari made this known recently, at the international women in energy symposium co-hosted by Women in Energy Network (WIEN) and the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), aimed at commemorating the International Women’s Day (IWD).

He said as a nation, gender inclusion in every sector was key to sustainable growth, adding that, “the more we are able to sustain conversations around inclusiveness, there will be a gradual dissipation of stereotypes.”

According to him, “the energy sector is pivotal to the development of every nation, the growth of the sector can be better achieved when women are integrated into the system.

“We have women who have taken their career to the peak of which is evident at the World Trade Organisation and the White House.
“Back here in the NNPC, women have played tremendous roles in the growth of the corporation especially in the downstream sector, human resources, research and development and other sectors critical to the development of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”

The GMD promised the corporation’s readiness to synergise with WIEN and REAN, to achieve the set target, while urging both groups to sustain the advocacy of gender inclusion in the energy space.

In her remarks, REAN Executive Director, Mrs. Lande Abudu, said the rationale was targeted at combining efforts in working towards a common goal of gender inclusion in the energy sector, adding that this year’s IWD, was unique, with a call to women to challenge all forms of discrimination in all sectors of the economy

“The background to this are those statistics that give cause for concern: IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) reports that although women make up 48 per cent of the global labour force, they only account for 32 per cent in renewables and 22 per cent of the labour force in the oil and gas sector.

“Other studies show that in the energy sector, more women work in administrative jobs (45%) than in STEM-related roles (28%).
“How then do we contribute to those activities that will ensure that women can effectively participate in the energy sector? How can we demonstrate that there is a link between gender, energy and poverty?

“How can we increase women’s participation in the delivery of energy solutions? These were the conversation starters. The ideas started almost informally around a virtual coffee table, leading to the signing of a formal agreement and activities rose steeply from there,” she stressed

In her welcome address, the President, WIEN, Mrs. Funmi Ogbue, said the conference was aimed at celebrating women in energy, it’s achievers in the space, encourage and showcase young ladies Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), recognise men and organisations that have contributed to the success of women in energy and to drive the REAN/WIEN agenda.

“How can we demonstrate that there is a link between gender, energy and poverty? How can we increase women’s participation in the delivery of energy solutions? How do we encourage women into STEM-related fields? How can we work towards developing a gender policy to achieve gender equity and equality in the energy sector?”, she asked.

Other sessions at the conference included: Gender Mainstreaming –Building Policies foster diversity within organisations, announcement of Winning with Women Awards: A workplace recognition scheme to highlight and promote companies and individuals that promote women, funding and scaling, among others.