Clean and renewable energy sector provides key opportunities for women in the UAE

Clean and renewable energy sector provides key opportunities for women in the UAE

/ News & Interviews / Tuesday, 18 February 2020 13:01

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has emphasized that Emirati women participate effectively in the energy sector thanks to the vision of the wise leadership who are committed to participation in the Global Women’s Forum – Dubai 2020. DEWA was the forum’s Strategic Sustainability Partner.

Al Tayer said that DEWA employs 1,933 female staff, 80% of whom are Emiratis. This includes 646 female engineers and technicians at DEWA, 87% of whom are Emiratis. DEWA’s female staff take part in numerous volunteering activities inside and outside of the UAE. DEWA was one of the first government bodies in Dubai to set up a women’s committee, childcare facilities, flexible working hours, unique training opportunities, educational scholarships and an environment that fully engages women.

Several DEWA staff took part in the sessions at the Future Hub at the Global Women’s Forum – Dubai 2020. Khawla Al Mehairi, Executive Vice President for Strategy and Government Communications at DEWA, highlighted DEWA’s experience in empowering women in the energy sector at a panel discussion titled ‘Equality in the Energy Sector’. Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Brand & Strategic Initiatives, Masdar; and Valerie Levkov, Sr. VP of  Africa, Middle East and Mediterranean, Electricite de France, participated in the panel, which was moderated by Campbell M. Steedman, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs.

Al Mehairi mentioned that some factors that inhibit women’s participation in the energy sector around the world include the impression that working in the energy sector requires physical strength and that women are less capable than men in working in technical jobs. These are misconceptions as automation and smart machines have reduced the physical effort needed to work in this sector.

Al Mehairi mentioned that this impression hinders girls’ study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects around the world. For example, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), female graduates count for 20% only in the engineering field in Canada, Finland, Germany and the United States, whereas in Japan and South Korea, it’s just 5% and 10% respectively. However, the same report mentions that in the UAE, women represent 50% of engineering graduates, which is one of the highest percentages globally.

On the second day of the forum, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Chief Officer of Climate Change & Sustainability at DEWA; Abdulrahman Aljamea, Vice President – Corporate Strategy Risk & Resilience; Maryam Khansaheb, Senior Engineer – Sustainability; and Athbeh Hamdan Al Shehhi, Senior Engineer – Climate Change & Sustainability at DEWA, took part in a session titled ‘The Power of Sustainable Action.’ They talked about DEWA’s initiatives in sustainability, environmental protection, volunteering, as well as empowering female staff to lead these initiatives.

The Forum’s second day included another session on ‘Innovation for the Future.’ Matar Almehairi, Chief Innovation Officer; Dr. Aaesha Alnuaimi, Director of the Solar Innovation Centre; Reem Mustafawi, Senior Specialist – Innovation and the Future; and Dr. Hesham Ismail, Sr. Researcher – 4IR at DEWA, participated in the session. They shared their experience at DEWA and their work in innovation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and Research and Development (R&D) in solar energy, as well as the opportunities that DEWA offers for women in these areas.

Several female staff also talked about their experiences and accomplishments in innovation, AI and anticipating the future in the ‘DEWA Sustainovate Idea Lab.’ Participants included Tawadod Rashid  Almutawa, Senior Executive – Innovation & Creativity; Fatima Almarzooqi, Senior Programmer Analyst; Nouf Ahmad Almadani, Engineer – Future Accelerators; and Maryam Bin Turkeya, Assistant Manager - Future Centre at DEWA.

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