The current global challenges such as unemployment, climate change, increasing standards of living and inequality call for urgent attention, if we are to achieve Agenda 2030. Agenda 2030 calls for ending poverty and hunger, protecting the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production in addition to taking urgent action on climate change for a sustainable future. The Just transition provides the best pathway to attaining these aspirations. A Just Transition promises jobs, climate-resilient economies, healthier ecosystems and more inclusive and equitable communities characterized by social justice without leaving no one behind. For country like South Africa with a high youthful unemployment rate of almost 60%, a widening level of inequality in gender and also social class, implementing the transition to a low carbon economy, holds enormous opportunity for prosperity if it’s well harnessed to yield desirable outcomes such as jobs and gender equality.
In South Africa, women have benefitted from only 10% of the total jobs created to date in the renewable energy sector. A study by UN Women showed that South African women are leading innovative approaches that help promote gender equality and protect local ecosystems in the transition to a green and sustainable economy.
Similarly, although some policies have been developed to support and promote gender equality in South Africa, several challenges still exist. According to Statistics South Africa (2022), women are more likely to be unemployed than men and are less likely to participate in the labour market than their male counterparts. Women in South Africa continue to be underrepresented in education fields such as physics, mathematics or engineering, which are critical in the just transition. This demonstrates that women will continue to be underrepresented within those fields, thus limiting their inclusion, especially in top management positions, if no necessary interventions are implemented to empower and support them.
On the other hand, women are early adopters of new technologies, and they are the ones who make decisions at home about energy use. They, however, tend to have less access to resources, credit, technologies, decision-making bodies, training, etc. and are more dependent on the informal economy, which is subject to poor working conditions and lacks social protection. There is a need to support women’s efforts and initiatives in the renewable energy sector for example, so that their models can be replicated.
Invitation to participate in survey
Against this backdrop, the African Centre for a Green Economy is conducting a study on the gender dynamics and jobs in the Just Transition in South Africa. The study aims to explore the gender dynamics, key opportunities and barriers inherent in South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy, focusing on how policies, institutions, practices, and patterns will affect men and women and jobs.
In order for us to undertake this study, we would like to invite you to fill in our online surveys. By filling in these surveys, we aim to gather credible insights into the jobs question and the gender dynamics. We assure you that the data generated will be handled confidentially and participation remains anonymous.
Pathways to jobs unlocking green jobs in South Africa:
Gender dynamics in the just transition: