Ron Weiss, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group (REG), has called all stakeholders to double effort to put more women engineers on the labour market, more specifically in the energy sector.
According to Weiss, women are capable, just like their male counterparts, to not only compete for jobs in the energy sector but also strive for high positions in the sector.
He was addressing female employees at REG including those from its subsidiaries across the country who gathered on Thursday afternoon to celebrate International Women’s Day that is celebrated globally on March 8.
He said: “We still do not have enough women in the energy sector. This does not start from REG; it starts from school, at university and other tertiary institutions. We do not have enough women who are engineers, not enough technicians. We have to work with other institutions to fix this.”
A female student with her male collegues in an electrical workshop at IPRC Kigali. A call has been made for more women to join the energy sector. / Courtesy
He said they have project with Imbuto Foundation through which they are working together to support 100 young women so that that they can learn technology with hope that they would end up working within the sector.
“They have to study different technologies, ICT so that they may come and support the company,” he said.
He added that they will soon start special training sessions exclusive for women technicians, to empower them occupy different positions in the company, reiterating that they have committed to promote gender balance and women’s rights at work.
Weiss however did not disclose the percentage of women within the sector.
“Supporting women in our company is very important. We recognize the contribution by women in our institution. We really encourage them to do more and take high positions in the organization,” he said.
He said women face special needs such as breastfeeding which must be considered at work to enable better working environment for them, adding that they will continue bettering that environment.
“If women are involved in senior management and decision-making, the company will most certainly perform better,” he said.
Claire Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board who also attended the ceremony urged women to take advantage of the conducive environment put in place by government to strive for positions of leadership across sectors.
“Promoting women in leadership is achieving excellence in different work places. I urge women to try and advance their respective careers which will ease their ascension to leadership positions,” she said.
Marie Aime Uwanyirigira who is in charge of gender mainstreaming in REG highlighted some of the bottlenecks that still prohibit professional women to ascend to positions of leadership.
“Despite the progress made over the years to empower women in the country, there are still challenges to balance paid job and unpaid domestic chores which takes much of their time,” she said.
In Rwanda, the International Women’s Day will at the national level be celebrated in Nyamasheke District and it is expected to be graced by First Lady Jeannette Kagame.