Prioritizing Women in Data Centers


According to a recent report by the Uptime Institute, a significant majority of datacenter operators, approximately three-quarters, have a workforce comprising 10 percent or fewer women. The underrepresentation of women in the datacenter industry is largely attributed to the influence of cultural and social norms. As the African datacenter sector gains prominence on the global stage, it becomes imperative for gender diversity to mirror this growth. However, current projections paint a discouraging picture, with the same report indicating that the majority of datacenter operators in Africa employ 10 percent or fewer women.

According to research conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA), women account for only 16 percent of employees in the traditional energy sector, underscoring a significant gender disparity. Additionally, women working in this sector experience a pay gap of 20 percent compared to their male counterparts. These findings underscore the pressing need for greater diversity and inclusion within the workforce. Achieving sustainability objectives and keeping pace with digitalization demands necessitates a diverse and innovative workforce. It’s essential to recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) aren’t just moral imperatives but also strategic business imperatives that drive creativity and foster innovation.

In this critical moment, it’s imperative for industry leaders across the continent to unite in advancing greater female representation within the datacentre sector.

A significant stride in this direction is the recent launch of the African Women Business Energy Network (AWBEN) by the African Energy Chamber. This initiative aims to cultivate a supportive ecosystem for women in both the energy and datacentre domains, acknowledging that as the energy sector grows, so does the need for increased female participation.

AWBEN’s primary objectives encompass fostering collaboration among African women within the energy sector, facilitating mentorship programs, and empowering women to proactively steer their personal and professional growth. Additionally, AWBEN provides coaching and sponsorship avenues for girls pursuing STEM fields, striving to bolster their participation and leadership roles within the energy industry.

In the datacentre industry, female participation faces obstacles rooted in cultural and social norms. It’s crucial for the industry to unite not only in attracting women but also in dismantling barriers that deter them from pursuing roles. By addressing these challenges, we can foster an environment where women feel empowered to make meaningful contributions. One critical area for improvement is increasing the presence of women in leadership roles. The scarcity of female leaders may dissuade young women from considering careers in this field, highlighting the urgent need for change.

In order to ensure a sustainable future for data centers in Africa, it is imperative for the industry to invest in nurturing and retaining the next generation of skilled professionals. This involves fostering an early interest in STEM subjects, particularly among young girls.

Initiatives such as Girls in Data and Women in Data, along with the establishment of mentorship programs, play a vital role in achieving a more balanced representation within the data center industry.

At Schneider Electric, we are committed to prioritizing programs that support women, exemplified by initiatives like ‘How Women Rise’ and ‘Still, I Rise’. This year, we introduced the Schneider Electric Ladies Forum (SELF) across Anglophone Africa, aimed at promoting self-worth, development, and empowerment.

Globally, our efforts to promote gender equity have been recognized by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), highlighting our commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.




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