by Kristen Ku
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 17, 2023
On Monday of this week, the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics & E-Governance (MPUELE), with the support of the LAIT UP BELIZE! Project and the European Union, held a ceremony at Biltmore Plaza, Belize City, recognizing Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE).
Originally founded by the Clinton Climate Foundation, WIRE, which focuses on gender equality in the energy sector, is now handled by the Rocky Mountain Institute and they are now partnering to begin a new chapter in Belize.
This new chapter involves an increase from the induction of two women into WIRE to inviting multiple women under a new mentorship program. Through this initiative, women who have been part of the program will be able to guide these new women who are entering.
According to the Energy Director of the MPUELE, Ryan Cobb, women only make up about 32% of the workforce in terms of renewable energy, which is why events and programs like these aim to increase that number.
“The overarching goal is trying to increase the percentage of women within renewable energy. Whenever you are trying to make decisions, you are trying to make the most informed and balanced position that you can, and the only way you can do that is if you have a balance within your stakeholders and within the technical people as well. That’s why it’s important to raise what we have of that 32% share to one that’s much more equitable,” said Cobb.
The five women who were highlighted in the ceremony were Kayla Gabourel—Energy Officer at the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics & E-governance; Sheena Kuylen Simpson—Manager, Systems Planning & Engineering at the Belize Electricity Limited; Kay Menzies—President & CEO of Fortis Belize Limited; Brittany Meighan Rancharan—Environmental Engineer & Climate Change Expert; and Khara Roches Francois—Energy Engineer & Consultant.
Finally, the Ministry also used this opportunity “to dialogue and to promote the vision of women supporting other women in light of the sustainable energy transition that Belize is currently undertaking.”