The Ministry of Energy and Meteorology in partnership with Women In Sustainable Energy Lesotho (WISE-L) celebrated Women’s Month at the event held in Maseru.
Speaking at the 2nd Women in Energy event, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology, Mrs. Masekhobe Seeiso-Moholobela expressed her honour and pleasure to join WISE-L to celebrate women month under the theme ‘Safe and Sustainable Energy Applications for Women’
Mrs. Seeiso-Moholobela said she is happy to share this platform with eminent women in the industry who have defied the odds to become exemplary leaders in a male-dominated industry.
She said ensuring universal access to sustainable forms of energy is a key global development goal and essential to improving the lives and livelihoods of both women and men around the world, saying energy enhances the well-being of women and men through the production of goods and access to services such as water, health, education and communications.
She said gender roles, mostly defined by sociocultural expectations, behaviours, responsibilities and activities that a society constructs, determine women’s and men’s role and relationships as energy providers and users as well as their participation in the energy market and in decision-making processes.
Moreover, she said issues of gender in the energy sector are crucial because energy affects women and men differently through access, use, and impact of energy services.
She said all energy interventions need to be designed and implemented with these differences in mind to achieve equitable and sustainable impact.
Mrs. Seeiso-Moholobela said Lesotho still faces significant challenges in terms of access to electricity and modern energy hence the high reliance on traditional fuels, saying according to the 2017 household energy consumption survey, about 62.0 percent of the households used biomass to meet their daily energy requirements. The survey further revealed that 55.4 percent of household members responsible for fuelwood collection were females as compared to 44.6 percent males.
She said the energy policy (2015-2025) recognises gender mainstreaming as one of its guiding principles and states that ‘gender equality will be an integral part when energy programmes and activities are formulated and implemented, noting that in 2020, the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology developed a strategy for mainstreaming gender in energy institutions and in implementation of electrification projects under the sustainable energy for all projects.
She added that the strategy paints a very bleak picture of corporate diversity in the energy space, saying as one would already expect, the strategy identified that the sector is mainly male-dominated especially in leadership and technical field, particularly in the public sector with the proportion of women standing at 5 percent top management and 20 percent male.
Mrs. Seeiso-Moholobela said she trusts that WISE-L will provide a platform for advocacy, engagement and access to knowledge, resources as well as provide young female professionals with role models and mentors for increased impact.
In conclusion, she announced the ministry’s support for the launch of Women In Sustainable Energy-Lesotho (WISE-L), a women-led initiative that promotes gender equality and equity in this formerly masculine sector, inviting everyone to support this great initiative by women striving to make a difference and create opportunities for women.
Also speaking, the Department of Energy Director, Mr. Mokhethi Seitlheko said their sincere appreciation goes to WISE-L and the Lesotho Renewable Energy and Energy Access Project (LREEAP) for all their hard work in making this event happen, saying this event builds on the first ‘Women in Energy’ event held last year under the theme ‘Promoting Gender Balance in the Energy Sector’ which was a great success.
Mr. Seitlheko said this year’s theme ‘Safe and Sustainable Energy Application for Women’ is held in solidarity with WISE-L, commenting that he has no doubt that the presentations and the exhibitions will impart very relevant knowledge that will benefit everyone present at the event.
On the same note, the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) Chief Accounting Officer, Mrs. Mathabo Mahahabisa urged women to explore the field of science and technology so that they can lead in a male-dominated industry.
Mrs. Mahahabisa said as an energy service provider, she will ensure that they generate clean energy to help the country generate clean energy that does not hinder the climate and promote women who are in this industry.
The Representative of Renewable Energy and Energy Access Project (LREEAP), Mrs. ‘Mathapelo Keketso Silase said the project they are implementing is speaking to the productive use of energy, saying energy is needed to enhance women’s business.
Mrs. Silase said they are striving to ensure that the energy component becomes part of their business for them to see growth.
She added that the project intends to incubate women to participate in the energy sector, thus showing that women also have what it takes to run this industry.
WISE-L is an organisation that advocates for and promotes a gender balance in the energy sector as well as promotes entrepreneurship amongst women in this sector. It was established in 2019.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.