On November 9, 2021, the WePOWER India Partnership Forum, held via a virtual platform, kicked off efforts to grow up the South Asian Women in Power Sector Professional Network (WePOWER) in India. 168 top energy sector stakeholders were present for this crucial event. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank co-hosted the event with the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF).
India is investing a lot in clean energy, grid upgrading, and utility digitalization. As a result, employment profiles in the Indian energy sector are changing, with a greater emphasis on ICT and renewable energy solutions. To fill these new green professions, there is a growing demand for trained human resources. Women can contribute to closing the skills gap in the energy transition. Women’s engagement in the energy sector, on the other hand, is still quite low. To overcome this, the energy industry must seek out, develop, and retain exceptional female professionals.
In India’s power sector, the World Bank is dedicated to fostering gender equality. In February 2019, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank launched the WePOWER initiative to achieve this goal. WePOWER is a network of 28 energy sector utilities and organizations dedicated to conducting systematic and incremental gender actions in order to encourage women’s employment involvement in energy projects and utilities, as well as promote normative change for women and girls in STEM education.
Mr. Vishal Kapoor, Joint Secretary – Distribution, Ministry of Power, Government of India; Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank; and Mr. Reji Kumar Pillai, President, India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) presided over the launch event. Mr. Guangzhe Chen, World Bank Regional Director for Infrastructure in South Asia; Mr. Takeo Konishi, ADB Country Director; and Ms. Reena Suri, ISGF Executive Director, were among the other dignitaries in attendance.
WePOWER is an essential initiative for attracting and maintaining more women in the energy sector. The effort drew a lot of praise, positive response, and interest from the energy industry executives who took part. WePOWER will arrange in-depth talks with key stakeholders in the power sector in the coming months to advance the objective of enhancing women’s engagement in the sector.