ADDIS ABABA, February 4, 2020 – Making use of vast energy potential – including solar, wind, and geothermal – and a grid that is nearly 100% supplied by renewable sources, Ethiopia is undertaking an ambitious project to achieve universal electricity access by 2025. In fact, not only is , it is doing so while spearheading innovations on gender equality.
In 2018, the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) set itself the bold task of ensuring that women are better-represented in what has been an overwhelmingly male-dominated sector. Today, women represent 20% of the utility’s workforce. EEU wants that figure to reach 30% within five years and has a long-term vision of achieving gender equality across the institution.
“Women make up 50% of society. For our utility to be effective in its corporate objective, we need to create an enabling environment for both men and women,” said EEU Chief Executive Officer Ato Shiferaw Telila. “This means creating awareness among our senior management, middle management and engineers, of the benefits of having a conducive environment for all.”
Supported by the World Bank Group, ESMAP Africa Gender and Energy Program and the State and Peacebuilding Fund Gender-Based Violence grant, EEU has allocated $4.5 million to closing gender gaps and citizen engagement.
EEU’s approach started with developing a pipeline of future workers. It has signed a unique partnership with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and 12 Ethiopian universities to provide courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that are essential to upskill the existing female staff footprint so that they match male employees in education attainments and can advance their careers the energy sector.