Women have been urged to embrace careers in the energy sector to break the cultural norms and close the female gender gap.
Some feminist activists made the call at a career fair held at the Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, on Friday in Ibadan.
The event tagged: “DISCO for Women Career Fair” was organised by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company in collaboration with the USAID.
NAN also reports that the event was organised for the female final year students on career opportunities in the male-dominated energy sector to foster broader women representation in the country.
Ms Ehi Obaseki, IBEDC Chief Human Resource Officer, said that the Career Fair was a platform to provide unique opportunities for the female gender on learning, engagement and networking.
Obaseki said IBEDC believes in applying and getting jobs, but having the right set of people for job roles in equal measure, without bias.
She said that the effort of having the right set of people for job roles was a critical success factor for the country’s sustained economic growth.
“With this Career Fair, we need to be brave and chart a course no one has ever taken before. It’s the first of its kind undertaken by any corporate body in Nigeria.
“It is important to have a vision that guides you in life and this vision should be informed by your passion and your talents.
“Employers are joining the race for your academic brain which makes it difficult to decide where the best start of your career should be,” she said.
Obaseki described IBEDC as a great starting point for work-life with admirable gender equity and diversity with practical on-the-job experience.
“A great learning environment and amazing workforce. It undertakes an array of career enriching projects with practical on the job experience,” she said.
The chief human resource officer implored the female final year students to make the most of the invaluable resources that had been placed before them.
Also, Mrs Angela Olanrewaju, IBEDC Head of Brand and Corporate Communication, said the Career Fair was part of the gender diversity programme the company had been involving for over six years.
Olanrewaju said that the power company had been partnering with USAID on a lot of initiatives, adding that one of them was empowering women.
“What we noticed in this sector is that there is a lot of capacity gap for women. The percentage of our women in this sector is very low.
“So, we partner with them to do a lot of programmes like this to make sure that we bring in qualified women onboard.
“We want to make sure that the power sector becomes an attractive industry for women to look into.
“So, we think we should do very deliberate things to make sure that we have gender diversity,” she said.
Olanrewaju admonished the government on women inclusiveness, saying research had proven that women bring a lot to the workplace, both at the government and economic levels.
Earlier, Prof. Babatunde Ekanola, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, expressed the university’s appreciation to the power company for picking the institution as a beneficiary of the first edition of the Career Fair.
Ekanola, represented by Dr Demola Louis, said the main reason for the Fair was to expose female final year students to career opportunities in IBEDC and other energy sectors of the economy.
He reiterated the university’s commitment to gender equity in all aspects of the institution’s life, including teaching, staff recruitment and administration.
The acting VC said that the university had produced a gender and sexual harassment policy guide on the activities in the institution.
Commenting, Prof. Olapeju Ayelaagbe, a Gender Focal Person and Coordinator, UI Gender Mainstreaming Office, lauded IBEDC for the initiative.
Ayelaagbe said the graduating students of the institution would have the opportunity to understand that they do not need to see some job roles as male-dominated.
“In actual fact, it has been observed that the female gender is not adequately represented in the energy sector in this country.
“IBEDC was quick to know that, and they now discover that there is a need to make a continuous effort to increase the womenfolk in the energy sector,” she said.
Ayelaagbe advised the government to ensure a level playing field for everyone, irrespective of gender and encourage females to get employed in those organisations.
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