“The transition toward low-carbon energy solutions will require more diversity, innovative thinking and creative business models. The contribution of women at this crucial moment cannot be excluded”. Kim Osborne, Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS
The dialogue “Women in the Energy Transition,” organized by the Government of Panama under the framework of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) on March 12, 2021, opened a space for awareness and empowerment for the women in the search for gender equality in the energy sector.
The event was attended by the First Lady of the Republic, Yazmin Colón de Cortizo, who assured that the empowerment of women in the energy sector’s decisions will have a multiplying effect in the development of access areas to energy. The First Lady highlighted that “a large number of women in areas without access to electricity or other clean fuels are frequently the ones who make decisions regarding the use of the primary energy, becoming fundamental actors of their country’s energy transition agenda.” Likewise, the Secretary of Energy of Panama, Jorge Rivera Staff, spoke about women’s role as agents of change in geographic areas with little access to energy. Rivera stressed that women’s participation is “essential to achieve 100 percent electrification in the country, contributes to the sustainability of technical solutions to be implemented and widely improves the health of members of rural families.”
In her remarks, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Kim Osborne, highlighted the valuable contribution of women in the energy transition and added that “it is necessary to transform our rhetoric into concrete actions. The women of our hemisphere deserve nothing less.” In this context, she invited to the energy’s sector diversification through two areas of action: the reform of the educational system so that more girls can access engineering education and become the scientists of tomorrow and the work on policies that promote gender diversity and setting specific goals.
Along the same lines, the President of the Global Network of Women for the Energy Transition and Ambassador of Austria in Brazil and Suriname, Irene Giner-Reichl, addressed concrete actions to achieve transformational changes on this matter. Ambassador Giner-Reichl highlighted that inclusion strategies such as the application of quotas, women’s attraction to the engineering field, inclusive hiring practices, and women’s access to decision-making positions have shown to be effective in developing the talent of women and can be of great use in the energy sector.
As part of the event, the panel “Opportunities for Gender Equity in the Energy Transition of Panama” was held. The panelists highlighted the importance of improving data on the participation of women in the energy sector. Likewise, the empowerment of women to grow personally and professionally, the provision of spaces to develop skills in science, technology, and engineering, and the visualization of women in leadership positions serving as role models for younger generations. This transformation would imply the implementation of a work strategy at the inter-institutional level, involving various actors and, fundamentally, with women’s voice at the center of this transformation.
“The dialogue ‘Women in the Energy Transition’ constitutes the first action towards the construction of a roadmap to strengthen the woman-energy nexus as part of the energy transition agenda promoted by the Republic of Panama, which is founded on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and in the 2030 Agenda”, concluded the Secretary of Energy of Panama, Jorge Rivera, a country that will sponsor the VI Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Alliance of the Americas (ECPA).