Empowering Egyptian Women in the Green Energy Sector: A Vision for 2050

November 8, 2023

As the world races to combat climate change, Egypt is no exception. The Egyptian government has embarked on a mission to transition to a green economy, allocating significant resources to this endeavor. A crucial aspect of this transition is the active participation of women, who often lead the way in innovative solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

UNDP Accelerator Exploration team, in line with Egypt's African Women's Climate Adaptive Capacities Initiative, explored how we could enhance women's roles in the green energy sector and promote gender-sensitive climate governance approaches.

We employed a future-thinking approach and conducted interviews and workshops with various stakeholders to identify signals of change across environmental, technological, social, economic, and political domains. These signals can help build scenarios for the future of women in green energy and develop strategies to make the sector more resilient and inclusive.

Environmental Signals of Change

Environmental signals play a crucial role in shaping the future of women in the green energy sector. Participants highlighted important signals such as industrial and agricultural waste, water scarcity, food scarcity, desertification, extreme weather events, and natural crises (e.g., droughts and hurricanes), which could cause major uncertainties in the future.

Technological Signals of Change

Technology is a driving force in the green energy sector. Participants identified key technological signals, including energy-efficient buildings, waste-to-energy solutions, data science, smart agriculture, communication for awareness, and digital transformation as most important to invest in.

Social Signals of Change

Societal factors significantly influence the future of women in green energy. Important social signals included the human-centric and customer-centric shift in solutions, the development of women's soft skills, educational and family barriers, recycling, the rise of female engineers in the energy sector, women's independence, and an increased focus on climate change and energy careers.

Economic Signals of Change

Economic factors have a significant role to play in the future of women in green energy. Key economic signals included inflation, foreign grants for sustainable development, the increasing presence of women in the solar sector, the growth of green and circular economies, subsidies related to energy, gender pay gap reduction, support for women-led startups, and infrastructure improvements.

Political Signals of Change

Political signals hold great influence over the future of women in green energy. These signals included a focus on clean energy, international policies centered on sustainable development goals, geopolitical events, the presence of women in leadership positions, government support for green projects and education, and the formulation of laws and regulations promoting women's empowerment in the energy sector.

The Desired Future for Women in Energy

In 2050, the ideal future envisions a regulatory framework that empowers women in the energy sector. Women's participation at all levels, from vocational training to leadership roles, is encouraged. There is widespread cultural acceptance and respect for women in the field, particularly in rural and desert areas. Research-oriented localized solutions support the green energy transition, and society as a whole adopts green behaviors, focusing on resource management and energy efficiency.

Businesswomen play a significant role in the sector, with substantial investments directed toward female entrepreneurs. Environmental taxation is enacted, and governmental oversight ensures compliance with green practices.

Priority Actions for Achieving the Desired Future

To realize this ambitious vision, several priority actions were identified:

At the community level:

• Raise awareness of energy as a future job opportunity.

• Promote female education in energy, especially through vocational training.

• Foster awareness of effective consumption and production.

• Educate women on reducing their carbon footprint.

• Support women in non-traditional jobs.

• Encourage women to understand market needs in the energy sector.

• Promote maintenance and vocational education in the green energy sector.

• Keep up with media and tech discussions on energy sector trends 

At the policy level:

• Implement gender-sensitive energy policies.

• Provide financial incentives for women in the energy market.

• Enact laws supporting the private and public sectors.

• Offer bank loans to support new technologies.

• Foster international connections.

• Engage women in evaluating regulations in the green energy sector.

• Introduce environmental taxation and true cost accounting.

At the market level:

• Adopt gender-sensitive technology.

• Encourage businesses to offer financial incentives to women-led energy enterprises.

• Facilitate bank loans for new technologies.

• Raise awareness of "greenwashing" activities.

• Promote local companies in regional and international markets.

• Establish unions composed of energy companies.

• Implement the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) system.

• Provide incubation and technical support for green energy startups.

At the civil society level:

• Raise awareness and promote women's participation in the energy sector.

• Implement monitoring and evaluation for projects.

• Encourage partnerships between the private and public sectors.

• Establish incubators and programs to support new startups.

• Organize workshops and sessions.

• Create a database for energy research and data.

• Enhance women's soft skills and networking opportunities.

In summary, it is essential to empower women within Egypt's green energy sector to advance towards a more sustainable future. By addressing these critical actions and recognizing the signals of change, we can lay the groundwork for a 2050 future that is both environmentally responsible and inclusive.