The Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities of Southern Africa (AMEU) has launched a new programme to accelerate women empowerment in the sector.
The launch of the Women In Electricity (WIE) took place on the first day of AMEU’s 25th annual convention at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday 5 October.
The brainchild of outgoing AMEU President and City Power Managing Director Sicelo Xulu, WIE will become a sub-committee of the organisation and will be charged with the task of fast-tracking the entry of women into the electricity supply sector.
Earlier this year Xulu expressed his concern about the under-representation of women in the sector. According to statistics, women constitute only 5% of all groups involved in the sector.
“It is disappointing that 21 years into the new democratic dispensation, women still play such a minuscule role in such a critical sector, the driving force of economic growth,” Xulu said at the time.
He said WIE “will be a programme that needs to be driven by women for women’s advancement”.
WIE’s pre-launch was held in August 2015 in Durban. Acting AMEU Vice-President! Refiloe Mokgosi said one of WIE’s aims was to become “a critical mass” in the electricity generation and distribution sector.
She said the body would also seek to create concrete programmes to groom women in the electricity space while also creating an enabling environment for equal partnerships.
Mogosi said WIE would also drive mentorship, and leadership and talent development programmes and create awareness at school level of career opportunities available in the sector.
She said work was under way to create a WIE database, embark on an international exchange programme and secure sponsorship. Mogosi described the launch as an important milestone in the 100-year history of AMEU.
WIE is at present run by a steering committee that includes Lungi Mpewe of City Power, Lebo Dikeledi, Bertha Dlamini and Prisha Haligen.