A group of about 200 women gathered at the Eskom facility in Brackenfell to mark the launch of an initiative to bring more women into a previously male-dominated field, on Thursday September 22.
Acting Premier, Anroux Marais, officially launched the Women in Electricity Programme by cutting a symbolic ribbon.
The programme is a partnership between Eskom and the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU).
“Much like the programme launched here today, women have for a long time been underestimated, despite being the driving force behind the world’s pioneering developments,” said Ms Marais.
“This programme aims to identify female professionals within the business who will participate and glean insights on how best to increase the number of female professionals in the electricity industry. The Women in Electricity programme is structured to nurture and retain female talent within the industry, in order to enable them to progress with the relevant competencies.
“Most importantly, it is to ensure that South Africa develops a rich pool of skilled women to tackle current and future challenges in the energy sphere. “
She added, “As women, we all have the potential and are destined to be great, it only takes self-determination and heeding the opportunities made available to us to realise it in its entirety.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this programme will promote the empowerment of women in the Western Cape and in turn enrich South Africa as a whole.”
Many of the women who currently hold key positions within Eskom spoke at the seminar. Lungi Mbewu, general manager for business strategy said, “Ameu is here to accelerate gender transformation. It is here to create tangible programmes designed to groom women in the electricity.
Alwie Lester, general manager of Eskom Western Cape, echoing the sentiments of the other women, told the audience, “This is a pragmatic programme designed to create an enabling environment for women.
“This baby was conceived in 2014 and is not even two years old yet. But we are pushing the boundaries”.
To this Yolanda Ngalwana, who is on the Ameu national project secretariat added, “Most women present here need to continuously empower themselves; we are all capable of being leaders and have the capacity to serve and lead. We are calling for inquisitive minds: for courage, passion and integrity. We are aiming to live this launch.”
On a final note, delegate Sy Gourrah, the general manager of Actom Power Systems, who has more than 20 years experience in the electrical industry, posed the question as to how empowering women can grow the economy?
She answered the question by saying that women are more inclined to make decisions based on consensus building, inclusion and compassion.
“There is also a willingness take risks and a strong persistence in achieving goals, reaching them and making new goals. Here we are proactively seeking career opportunities.
“We must let women flourish and achieve their true potential in the world of work.”