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ENERTRAG stresses need to bolster gender parity in renewables industry

An image of ENERTRAG South Africa project development head Mercia Grimbeek

Mercia Grimbeek

7th August 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Despite the significance of the renewable energy sector’s employment influence – with it expected to provide over 38-million jobs, with an additional 74.2-million in the energy transition-related sector – gender gaps persist across the globe, with South Africa being no exception.

“If our country is to join the global energy transition to keep the 1.5 °C climate target within reach, as well as meet our energy needs, annual renewable energy generation will need to grow exponentially – and for this to happen we will need to actively accelerate the access to this industry for women as well as promote career development to drive our sector’s gender equality in leadership roles,” says ENERTRAG South Africa project development head Mercia Grimbeek.

Grimbeek was previously the chairperson of the South African Wind Energy Association.

She has spent more than a decade in energy-related sectors as a driver of transformation and growth, as well as being a supporter of the power of collective thinking.

Along with many of her counterparts in South Africa’s renewable energy industry, she also supports the industry’s Gender Diversity Charter, which is posited to be a vital component of the South African energy transformation agenda.

It is said that without this element, there cannot be a meaningful transition, considering that this sector remains one of the least gender diverse, especially at decision-making level.

However, although women continue to be significantly under-represented in this sector, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs, compared to administrative positions, a handful of organisations are making significant strides.

ENERTRAG South Africa, for one, is indicated to have equal gender representation in their leadership portfolio and is just shy of a 50:50 gender split throughout all levels of its local South African team.

Grimbeek also participated in the ‘Global Wind Energy Council Women in Wind Global Leadership’ initiative, which she describes as being “instrumental in my career development as the exposure allowed me, within a very short space of time, access to a plethora of strong, confident women who were not only in senior roles but shared knowledge and most importantly experiences”.

“Having been part of the inaugural ‘Women in Wind Global Leadership Programme’ in 2019 I have had the opportunities and good fortune to be in the position to petition for gender equality in the energy sector, and believe in the value of mentorship and the role it plays in growing leaders,” Grimbeek highlights. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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