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October 15, 2021

Bringing the Woman’s Dimension to the Fuel and Energy Sector

KEY CONCLUSIONS

 

Female managers assume a more active role in promoting the sustainability agenda and implementing corporate ESG standards

 

“The whole topic of ESG and the whole agenda in general is one which is characteristically female, broadly speaking, because the whole goal of sustainability is to care for future generations. Ultimately that’s more of a female attribute. Our efforts to achieve gender equality aside, we all recognize that each sex has innate qualities. In that respect, caring for future generations clearly fits in more with women’s roles,” Natalia Nevmerzhitskaya, Chair of the Board of the Association of Guaranteed Suppliers and Energy Service Companies.

 

“The energy industry is the driver of the Russian economy. It’s also a very socially responsible sector. I’m not just talking about the benefits that energy companies give their employees. I’m talking about the environments and cultures within these companies that emphasize the development of human capital and human resource development, as well as respect for individuals. […] It goes without saying that Russia is a socially-oriented state, and by definition the energy industry puts people first. The energy industry plays a critically important role in ensuring the continuity of supply and energy security. It forms the basis of social wellbeing,” Anastasiya Bondarenko, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.

 

“In 2021, women held 24% of board seats on average worldwide. In Europe, 32% of board members were women, compared to 28.6% in South America,” Tamara Merebashvili, Deputy General Director, Head of the Corporate and Property Relations Unit and Corporate Secretary of PJSC Inter RAO; Chairman of the Board at the Digital Energy Association.

 

“I think that there’s nothing stopping men or women becoming professional leaders. There are probably fewer women in those positions because that’s women’s choice. I’ve never witnessed men limiting women’s career progression in any way. There are less women in those positions, but that’s women’s choice. I’ve never been challenged by a man, only women,” Maria Tikhonova, Deputy General Director for Regulatory Relations at Rosseti.

 

PROBLEMS

 

The lack of women in technical disciplines

“[It’s essential to] increase technical skill sets, because women generally end up going into law, finance and administration. They structure systems. […] If we’re talking about the role of women in companies, I’d be inclined to say that they are structurers. What I mean by that is that their femininity manifests itself in the workplace. That is, they generally coordinate all the potential paths and directions that exist in a company. Because of this, I feel that we’re seeing an increase in education levels, skills and qualifications in engineering-related fields. For example, we support the Moscow Power Engineering Institute. An awful lot of women are going into engineering at the moment,” Maria Tikhonova, Deputy General Director for Regulatory Relations at Rosseti.

 

Some foreign partners have gender-based stereotypes

 

“As a public company we are very much subject to this kind of pressure, because over 10% of our share capital is distributed among investors in foreign countries. In a sense, this community of investors has certain characteristics. […] For us, it’s obviously absurd to hear our foreign colleagues say that women should be elsewhere. We get this binary feeling, like a kind of internal crisis. It’s like, we’re the same level of seniority as you and we don’t have personal experience of any sort of pressure or restrictions. We’re told that we need more quotas and rights for women, but isn’t it bigger than that? No one is preventing us from developing or studying. There aren’t any barriers to work or further study. Women have to meet the same requirements as men,” Tamara Merebashvili, Deputy General Director, Head of the Corporate and Property Relations Unit and Corporate Secretary of PJSC Inter RAO; Chairman of the Board at the Digital Energy Association.

 

“Ultimately, there are still obstacles for us to overcome. There are regulations in place preventing women from working in over 200 types of job or profession. These are linked to health hazards and so on. […] We did a corporate survey and found that 17% is the average [proportion of women on boards of directors],” Zhanat Zhakhmetova, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

 

SOLUTIONS

 

Create a corporate culture based on gender equality, including in the energy industry

 

“At the moment there’s a lively discussion under way on a bill aimed at strengthening paternity leave provisions. A decree could be adopted to enable men to fulfil parental responsibilities which have previously been seen as largely or exclusively belonging to women. I therefore think that societal, psychological and individual attitudes are going to change very quickly, more quickly than we think they are,” Olga Golyshenkova, President of the Association of Civilians and Organizations for Corporate Learning and Development MAKO.

 

“There should be a non-discriminatory balance of professional, ambitious people working towards the same goal, no matter if they are men or women. […] What’s important is what kind of person you are, your professional ambitions, how skilled you are in your area of expertise and your honesty and fairness,” Tamara Merebashvili, Deputy General Director, Head of the Corporate and Property Relations Unit and Corporate Secretary of PJSC Inter RAO; Chairman of the Board at the Digital Energy Association.

 

“One of the current problems with digitalization in the energy sector, at least in Kazakhstan, is that it involves working with data. We have to work with data, build cases and draw conclusions based on this data. I think it’s high time that these data analysts and IT architects were women,” Zhanat Zhakhmetova, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

 

“To increase corporate productivity, we need to look at individuals and what they bring to the table, irrespective of gender differences,” Natalia Nevmerzhitskaya, Chair of the Board, Association of Guaranteed Suppliers and Energy Service Companies.

 

For more information, go to the Roscongress Information and Analytical System at www.roscongress.org.