Policy Brief: Women’s Inclusion in Energy Sector

Prepared by Atty. Nisrine Elias Mansour
For Publish What You Pay Lebanon & Diaries of the Ocean

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In the energy sector in Lebanon, the percentage of women’s employment is low. This is due to beliefs and perceptions of gender roles, cultural and social norms, and prevailing hiring practices in the industry. The oil and gas (O&G) sector is one of the most male-dominant industries.

The energy sector has always been regarded as one of the jobs offering the most difficult working conditions, especially on oil platforms and offshore. “United Civil Society for a Transparent Petroleum Sector”, is a project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD) and implemented by Publish What You Pay – Lebanon (PWYP) and Diaries of the Ocean (DOTO). This project opens a window of opportunity for civil society organizations (CSOs) who are seeking to reach an open and accountable energy sector. The overall objective of the project is to establish a capable civil society coalition and enhance its ability to access, understand, analyze data, and reach out to decision-makers in Lebanon. In addition, forming an academic network comprised of both university professors and students is a major aim of the project.

The aim of this policy is to encourage the wider participation of women in the energy sector while maintaining the principle of health and safety protection of the employees irrespective of gender. Therefore, a desk review of international conventions and legislation that impose restrictions on women’s employment in the energy sector was conducted. Notwithstanding the international conventions that guarantee equality to work and to choose the field of work, few legislations impose restrictions on the employment of women in harsh and hazardous jobs in which oil and gas are categorized as one of them.

On the other hand, interviews with governmental agencies which are mandated to work in this field were conducted to map the involvement of women. Most full-time female employees in the responding governmental organizations are occupying non-related energy jobs mainly administrative positions rather than energy-specialized careers. Awareness sessions on job opportunities in the energy field and incentive programs for school and university students would encourage more women to enroll in energy-related programs and occupy energy-related jobs after graduation.

Therefore, interventions of civil society, in particular, the Coalition for Energy Governance, at various levels, the legal, educational, and professional, are essential to overcome the legacy of excluding women in energy-related careers and workplaces.

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