News Kazakhstan

News Kazakhstan31.05.2024

Gender equality in green energy: Challenges and prospects at Qazaq Green Fest 2024

QAZAQ GREEN. At the III International Business Festival Qazaq Green Fest 2024, a session "Issues of gender policy and training in a fair transition" was held with the support of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Kazakhstan within the framework of the regional project of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) "Capacity development in the field of climate policy in the countries of Southeastern and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia" (CDCP) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection of Germany.

The session was led by Lazzat Ramazanova - Deputy Chairman of the National Commission for Women Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The speakers of the session were Gaukhar Nursha, a specialist on gender issues of the United Nations Development Program in Kazakhstan, Ainur Sospanova, Chairman of the Board of Qazaq Green, Yerlik Karazhan, Director of the ESGQ rating agency, Ramazan Zhampiissov, Adviser to the Director General of the Ecoger Association, Kyzzhibek Ryszhanova, founder and CEO of Smart ReEnergy, Dr. Max Eirikh, Director of the Kazakh-German Institute for Sustainable Development, Lyazzat Akhmurzina Executive Director of the Kazenergy Association and Yuliya Shamis, an expert of Hay Consulting Group.

They discussed the agenda of gender equality in the "green" energy sector, which is dynamically developing in Kazakhstan.

If we consider the agenda of gender equality in the world and in Kazakhstan, we can see that the representation of women in these industries is extremely low. According to Gaukhar Nursha, UNDP specialist, this applies both to personnel positions, such as engineers and narrow specialists, as well as political representation and participation of women in leadership roles.

According to her, women are no less interested in these professions, but there are systemic barriers that hinder their advancement. The ecosystem of values and opportunities that has developed over the years has formed an environment dominated by men. This applies to personnel relations, promotion and hiring policies, especially in such a traditionally masculine field as energy.

In Kazakhstan, less than 30% of employees in the energy sector are women, and most of them hold administrative positions rather than political or leadership positions. Therefore, each company, as part of its ESG strategy, should ask itself questions about gender equality not only on the eve of holidays such as March 8, but also on an ongoing basis, starting from management and ending with HR and communications. This will allow not only to talk about women's leadership once a year, but also to really improve the situation.

"The United Nations Development Program globally promotes certification for the private sector and government agencies. Last year, we launched this program together with the Ministry of Culture and Information, which coordinates the gender agenda. This initiative aims not only to reach 30% of women on the boards of directors of quasi-public sectors, but also to address a wide range of related issues.

It is important to note that all competent and experienced women want to participate more actively in boards of directors, form legislation and be more active in parliament. The question is to what extent they can do it. In the coming years, the United Nations Development Programme and other UN agencies will pay special attention to the economics of care and the impact of gender stereotypes that continue to pull women back. Women often face difficulties when they need to go on a business trip to improve their skills or study abroad, as they must coordinate their actions with their family.

In Astana and Almaty, the situation with gender stereotypes is more dynamic and positive, but traditional norms still remain in Central Asia," Gaukhar Nursha said.

As noted by Ainur Sospanova, Chairman of the Board of Qazaq Green, successful women in Kazakhstan were often able to make a career and maintain a life balance thanks to the great support of their family and their immediate environment. Their husbands and parents played an important role in this. To advance her career, a working mother needs a supportive environment that includes not only family, but also a team.

"Support should be fixed at the legislative level. It is important that there is a flexible schedule and loyal working conditions. Although the concept of family and gender policy has been adopted at the government level, at the execution level it is often considered that everything is fine. The concept has been adopted at the state level, but it is important that companies also implement this policy," Ainur Sospanova said.

Lazzat Ramazanova noted a good trend in the gender policy of the Qazaq Green Renewable Energy Association.

"The very fact that you motivate companies by creating ratings sends a clear signal to foreign investors: important things for the world community are recognized in this country, you can invest here. By ignoring gender issues, we deprive ourselves of significant investments. The energy industry also has a dynastic character. To form a dynasty of power engineers, you need to invest in children through women. Then there will be no need to persuade boys and girls to support this industry — they will go there themselves, seeing the role models of their mothers.

Our mothers were sent to work not because they wanted to, but because the system demanded it. Today it is important to work with the parents of boys so that future daughters-in-law can make a career. Parents of boys should understand that their future daughters-in-law also have the right to succeed in life.

I want to share an insight: my father-in-law is an academician and professor of mathematics, and my mother-in-law is an associate professor of physics. They are from the STEM field, and grandpa once said that when he recruited groups, the most effective and numerous groups were with girls. However, in Kazakhstan, these girls become unclaimed and go to study abroad. We are losing this potential without seeing it," - Lazzat Ramazanova, Deputy Chairman of the National Commission for Women Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, concluded.

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