By Adeola Badru, Ibadan
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, in collaboration with the USAID, has called on women to break the cultural norms and embrace the energy sector, adding that the sector is more male-dominated than the broader women representation in the country.
The call was made yesterday, at the one-day career fair for female final year students on career opportunities in the energy sector tagged: “DISCO for Women Career Fair, held at the University of Ibadan.
Speaking at the event, IBEDC’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Ms Ehi Obaseki, noted that the career fair is a platform that will provide a unique opportunity for the female gender on learning, engagement and networking.
She said IBEDC believes that the critical success factor for the country’s sustained economic growth was not just in having every “Tom, Dick and Harry” apply for, and getting jobs, but also having the right set of people applying for, and getting the same job roles in equal measure, without bias.
Obaseki noted: “With this career fair, we needed to be brave and chart a course no one has ever taken before. It’s the first of its kind undertaken by any corporate body in Nigeria.”
“It is important to have a vision that guides you in life and this vision should be informed by your passion and your talents. Employers are joining the race for your academic brain which makes it difficult to decide where the best start of your career should be.”
“IBEDC is a great starting point for work-life with an admirable gender equity and diversity culture, a great learning environment, amazing workforce and colleagues undertaken an array of career enriching projects with practical on the job experience.”
She implored the female final year students to make the most of the invaluable resource that has been placed before them.
In her remark, the head of the brand and corporate communication of IBEDC, Mrs Angela Olanrewaju, said the career fair was part of the gender diversity programme IBEDC has been involving for over six years.
Speaking on what informed the career fair initiative, Olanrewaju added that the power company has been partnering with USAID on a lot of initiatives, adding that one of them is empowering women.
“What we noticed in this sector is that there is a lot of capacity gap for women. The percentage of our women in this sector is very low. So, we partner with them to do a lot of programmes like this to make sure that we bring in qualified women onboard.”
“We want to make sure that the power sector becomes an attractive industry for women to look into,” she said.
While admonishing the government on women inclusiveness, she noted: “Research and statistics have proved that women bring a lot to the workplace, both at the government level and economic lever in every area.”
“So, we think we should do very deliberate things to make sure that we have gender diversity.”
Earlier in his address, representative of the Vice-chancellor of the University, Dr. Demola Louis, expressed the university’s appreciation to the power company for picking the institution to the beneficiaries of the first edition of the career fair.
He added that the main reason for the fair was to expose female final year students to career opportunities in IBEDC and other energy sectors of the economy.
The VC’s representative, however, reiterated the university’s commitment to gender equity in all aspects of the institution’s life, which he said, include teaching, staff recruitment and administration.
He disclosed that the University of Ibadan has produced a gender and sexual harassment policy guide on the activities in the university.
In an interview, the gender focal person and coordinator, the gender mainstreaming office of the university, Prof. Olapeju Ayelaagbe, lauded IBEDC for the initiative, adding that the graduating students of the institution would have the opportunity to understand that they do not need to see some job roles as male-dominated.
“In actual fact, it has been observed that the female gender is not adequately represented in the energy sector in this country and IBEDC was quick to know that, and they now discover that there is the need to make a continuous effort to increase the womenfolk in the energy sector.”
She advised the government to make a continuous effort to ensure a level playground for everyone and to be sure that more females are encouraged to get employed in these organisations