With women representing a small part of the global energy workforce, Agook reinforced the need to advance inclusion and diversity across the entire energy value chain, and particularly across management. Speaking on the need to improve opportunities for women in leadership, Agook stated that, “To enhance the presence of women in leadership positions, it is important that mentorship programs and platforms are prioritized and that women are in places where they have access to opportunities.”
Triple A Petroleum recently held a forum organized by women from different countries aimed at addressing lack of diversity. According to Agook, the mentorship provided at the forum connected them to the rest of the world.
“We want to promote knowledge and to do that, we need knowledge transfer and practical experiences that accelerate their advancement in the sector,” she said.
Agook’s remarks were reiterated by other high-level speakers, with Dr. Labanya Margaret Mathya, DG Administration and Finance at South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum, explaining that it all comes down to opportunity, and that “women need to be given the space to participate.”
South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum offers internship and training programs for women, and according to Dr. Mathya, “They come as new entrants, creating diversity, creating new wealth and creating innovation. New challenges need new ideas and innovation. We should look at women as the drivers of the economy. The female gender are the future role players in the sector.”
The country’s national oil company (NOC) offers similar programs, with specific focus being placed on improving the participation of women in leadership positions. Amb. Martha Nyamal, Deputy CEO/MD at Nilepet, explained that the NOC is trying to ensure women participate in every part of Nilepet and want women to engage in all decisions.
“As leadership, we want to ensure that women build confidence. Women are the backbone of this nation and Nilepet believes that giving women training, work and connecting them to the world is part of the growth of the company.”
In addition to high-level speakers from South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum and NOC, the Triple A Petroleum-sponsored discussion featured Ntokozo Ngcwabe, DDG: Mining, Minerals and Energy, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa, who emphasized that for Africa’s energy and mining industries to grow – both of which are critical for the development of Africa’s economies – there needs to be advanced participation by women.
“The development of women in the industry needs to be based on conscience decisions. The South African mining industry employs about half a million people. It took conscience decisions to address the participation of women. If you don’t take up space, no one will hand it to you. Position yourself, market yourself and go for it.”