Güler Sabancı, the chairman of Sabancı Holding, chaired the award panel of the “Women Energizing Turkey” Award Program organized by the Ministry of Energy. Ms. Sabancı delivered the following keynote speech at the ceremony: “It was about a month ago. Mr. Berat, the Minister of Energy, called me. He told me about this outstanding project. When I learned about the details, I remembered the invitation I received years ago from the MIT University. Susan Hockfield, the first female chancellor of the MIT, invited me to deliver a keynote speech on the “women’s role in clean energy” and said “this sector is crucial for the world; we are organizing this event to involve more women”. As far as I know, the International Energy Agency has recently started an initiative for increasing women employment in the “clean energy” segment.
Energy is one of the strategic sectors of the present and future. Urbanization is one of the strongest global trends and it, combined with the new technologies, increases energy demand day by day. Hence, there are significant efforts to increase participation of women in this sector all around the world.
In our country, we should all work harder to increase the number of women working in this sector and professional, academician and entrepreneur women interested in this sector. Thus, I gladly accepted being a part of this programme organized for encouraging our women and chairing at the award panel!
The “Women Energizing Turkey” Award Program is organized for the first time this year but we received over 200 applications despite being the first organization. This good level of participation is very promising; it gives hope for the future of this sector and women! After receiving these numerous applications, experts of the Ministry of Energy did a meticulous technical elimination. 42 women were shortlisted in 5 categories. Then, the award panel reviewed files of all the shortlisted applicants one by one. All members of the award panel evaluated individually so that they won’t influence each other. We independently gave points and then delivered those points to the Ministry. Our Ministry managed the process very professionally and within an institutional framework. We will find out the winners in a little while.
We are presenting the awards tonight but we are actually all winners thanks to the successful examples. In this process, all applicants and our sector are the winners of this journey. I believe that invaluable efforts of all applicants, who are professional, academician and entrepreneur women, will inspire other women to be interested in the energy sector and to create a professional roadmap in this sector.
Our country is one of the fastest growing and developing energy markets of the world. The sector structure has been experiencing significant changes for 14 years. The sector completed a crucial privatization process in the energy generation and distribution segments. It is competitive. Today, energy generation and distribution are at the hands of a private sector involving important foreign investors. This sector, directly impacting our life standard, has great potential.
In the next period, introduction of the new technologies and investments in this sector will continue and the sector has increasing demand of qualified labor. The proven managerial skills of women are a huge potential for the energy sector. Unfortunately, as seen on the statistics, energy is one of the sectors experiencing the most extensive gender inequality not only in our country but all around the world. According to the World Economic Forum, the number of women working in the energy sector is only 19 percent. One of the key underlying reasons is the unavailability of female role models.
This is why we care about incentives such as this award program. This sector does not only need engineering but also diverse competencies and interdisciplinary works.
We must see this award program as the start of this journey. Before I end my speech, I would like to especially thank to our First Lady Emine Erdoğan who is the patron of “Women Energizing Turkey” Program that will help women to take their rightful position in the energy sector and in every sphere of the life and to Mr. Berat Albayrak who, as the Minister of Energy, leads this initiative. I would like to thank the expert teams of the Ministry of Energy for their meticulous work. I want to thank the esteemed members of the award panel for their thorough work and contributions. I sincerely congratulate all participants and applicants who are the “Women Energizing Turkey” for their courage. I congratulate all award-winning applicants. I hope that Women Energizing Turkey Award Program will continue many years with increasing number of applications”.