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Women and Girls in Science Day: Three women advancing the energy transition


The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are critical to the global energy transition. They are responsible for innovations in renewable technologies, energy efficiency, storage and distribution, all of which are needed to deliver affordable, clean energy to everyone.

Unfortunately, women are not as well represented in both STEM fields and the energy sector: only 32 percent of employees in the renewable energy sector are women. The problem with this is it undermines a truly inclusive energy transition. Women must play an equal role as agents of change in shaping energy solutions and benefiting from the employment opportunities the energy transition creates. The same can be said for youth, whose future is most at stake when it comes to the energy transition.

The good news is that there are plenty of young, inspiring women who are helping shift employment trends in STEM and energy. These women are proving that existing gender biases can be overcome.

Coincidentally, 11 February 2022 is both the International Day for Women and Girls in Science and the one-year anniversary of the SEforALL Youth Summit, which was held to support youth engagement in the energy transition.

To mark the occasion, we’re profiling three young, female change-makers working in STEM and energy.


Moloo STEM story

At 15 years old, Naila Moloo is already on a mission to make more accessible solar panels. Using nanotechnology to allow thinner, cheaper and more transportable layers to be synthesized, she is currently designing flexible and transparent solar cells that can be virtually placed on any surface.

Hoping to bring an accessible and cost-effective design to the world, she is currently building this out in a lab through the help of her mentor Armin Fischer. Naila is also a published author, with Pegasus Publishing releasing her first book last year titled “Chronicles of Illusions: The Blue Wild,” and is currently writing a sequel and a children’s book series on emerging technology.

Why Naila chose to work in energy technology:

“Solar panels have huge potential but face a major roadblock with regards to where they can be placed, usually being confined to roofs. The energy industry is currently booming, and innovation is needed within climate, so after noticing this problem in the ninth grade, I knew I wanted to go into STEM and create a solar cell that was both transparent and flexible. I read research papers, wrote my own articles, and went on calls with at least twenty experts to get feedback, and am now starting to work in a lab!”

Eva Lee

Eva Lee works as a Technical Advisor for the GIZ and is currently based in Cotonou, Benin. In her day-to-day life, she works closely with partners to expand energy service for rural farmers and businesses. This includes working with renewable energy companies, agricultural extension service providers, training institutions and microfinance institutions.

She sees her role as a connecting agent to facilitate a just energy transition. In rural Benin, where the electricity access rate is low, farmers and businesses are dependent on expensive fuel sources to power their activities or simply rely on subsistence-level production. Decentralized renewable energy provides an opportunity to overcome this development bottleneck. With an appropriate ecosystem of actors in place, farmers are able to produce counter-season or higher value-add agricultural produce with renewable energy solutions.

Why Eva feels women in STEM is important:

“As a young woman in a technical position, I am confronted with systemic barriers and biases in my everyday work. I quickly realized that it is not only a choice but a necessity to approach my work with a gender lens. While the importance of women’s representation in STEM stands for itself, its benefits are also clear. In Benin, women are key players in certain agricultural value chains. By mainstreaming gender in our interaction with the agricultural cooperatives, we ensure the effectiveness of our activities.”

Ingrid Rohrer

With the recent success of the release of the Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool, we can’t forget to recognize the SEforALL staff who have helped make it happen, including our very own Ingrid Rohrer.

With a background in Environmental Technology and International Studies, Ingrid’s early start in rural electrification began with project development of mini-grids in various African countries. Now working as an Energy Specialist, she supports our Universal Integrated Energy Planning and Universal Energy Facility teams in the development of energy plans and financing for mini-grids in Benin and Madagascar. Her growing role in SEforALL supports development of the methodology for integrated energy planning and  assessment of mini-grid funding applications.

Why Ingrid feels more women should be represented in the energy sector:

“With women and girls being affected and placed at a disadvantage by energy access deficits, ensuring that more women are represented in energy and climate-related fields would mean greater inclusion of their unique insights and solutions tailored to suit their needs. But more accessible ways to these career paths also have to be available—and that’s where governments, companies, international organizations can work together to create opportunities for future generations.”

Read more about our Women at the Forefront programme, and don't miss the opportunity to participate in the Open Africa Power programme, which provides a cohort of young energy professionals with a complete set of technical, regulatory and business skills needed to support a sustainable energy future for all in Africa.