The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has launched an initiative that seeks to involve more women in Uganda’s oil and gas sector.

Dubbed ‘Women in Energy and Extractives Network (WEEN)’ the initiative is hoped to help to create a more equitable and inclusive energy and extractives sector.

Speaking at the WEEN meeting in Kampala on Tuesday, 31 January 2023, Eng. Irene Bateebe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Ministry Development, said that women should not use their gender as an entitlement but should demonstrate capability, dedication and professionalism while portraying themselves as focused on contributing to the social and economic development of Uganda.

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“As women at the top, we must put in place strategies to protect women. I believe that a robust network of women can lead to greater collaboration. Networks such as these are timely and help identify opportunities,” Eng. Bateebe said.

She added that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should focus on gender segregated data to identify where the gaps are.

She also said that gender considerations have been made in the land acquisition process for the oil and gas projects.

Eng. Irene Bateebe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Ministry Development, speaks at the function.

The keynote speech at the Breakfast Meeting was given by Dr. Oladunni Owo, the National President of Women in Energy, Oil, and Gas (WEOG) Nigeria. She expounded on experiences from the organization.

She shared the expected return on investment/associated economic benefits for Uganda that would include strong networks, the promotion of women leadership, increased women and girls’ participation in STEM, a boost in innovation as well as higher employment rates.

Associated economic benefits for WEEN would also include inclusive national economic growth and sustainability, increased GDP per capita, a boost of business competitiveness and performance, increased domestic and local content participation, and several other spill over effects.

In her remarks, Dr. Jane Nambakire Mulemwa, Chairperson Board of Directors of Petroleum Authority Uganda, shared the following tips for women in leadership; you should be proud of your achievements as a professional; self-confidence and Integrity.

Dr. Mulemwa also urged women in leadership to be intentional about increasing the visibility of women in technology and science.

She has urged guests to “have principles, have self-esteem, self-confidence, self-commitment to work hard and excellence.”

She briefly delved into her inception at PAU stating, “I was given the responsibility of establishing PAU from scratch. I was its first staff member with two other board members and we had help from UNOC with setting up the authority.”

“We need to work on getting people qualified into the energy and extractives industry. It is an industry that has the potential to uplift Uganda. Position yourselves in terms of acquiring the right qualifications, maintain your integrity, stand up for yourself,” she explained.

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