Encouraging an increase in the participation of women in the labor market in the electricity sector and promoting gender equity are the objectives of the Electrician School for women project, carried out at Neoenergia's distributors in Bahia and Pernambuco, Coelba and Celpe, respectively.
Since its creation in August 2019, there have been more than 20 thousand enrolled for the vocational course, which has theoretical and practical disciplines, lasting up to seven months and a workload of 596 hours. The number of interested parties demonstrated their willingness to act in a sector that today is represented by approximately 22% of the female workforce in Brazil, according to a study presented in 2019 by the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Pernambuco electrician Wedja Dayane Gonçalves, 24, is an example of the impact generated by the opportunity to perform a new profession. Today, studying engineering, she says that when she decided to enroll in the Electrician School, her family was apprehensive, but supported her. “Being an electrician has changed a lot in my life. I was able to financially support my family. Professionally, I managed to get into college and engineering and, as a personal achievement, I bought my apartment ", she says.
“Stimulating the presence of women in an activity that is still seen as masculine not only increases the opportunity in the job market, but also supports the constant search for equity between genders. Equality and diversity add value and initiatives like this can change the world ", says Régia Barbosa, superintendent of Organizational Development at Neoenergia.
The novelty created a series of challenges for the company itself when faced with issues such as team management considering maternity leave and women's demands in the field, such as the need to include women's bathrooms, among other factors that generate more and more learning for the company .
Customers are also impacted by the change. Elektro's electrician, in Limeira (SP), Selma Mendes, 33, says that when she is working she is approached by several people. “On the street, people always ask what it's like to be a female electrician. Sometimes they are amazed. Some ask out of curiosity and others want to know more about the profession and the opportunities. ".
At the concessionaires based in the interior of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Norte, the students have the opportunity to take the electricians course in mixed classes. The idea is that by the end of this year, at least 200 women will be trained to perform activities in building electrical installations and in energy distribution networks.
All candidates are submitted to a selection process that includes a written test (Portuguese, mathematics and writing), psychological assessment, practical test, in addition to an interview for profile assessment.
“By expanding female participation, we broke with social standards. Practical experience reveals that to encourage interest in the role of electricians, women first need to feel represented. Currently, the 36 female electricians at Neoenergia have been trained through our mixed classes. When they are hired, they receive the same wages and benefits as the male workforce ", concludes Régia.
Student Aline Alves Santos, 25, already feels the changes that the new opportunity can bring to her life. “I believe that I can be more, this electrical course is the beginning. The Electrician School is opening doors and making me believe that I can also do things that maybe before I thought that "look, this is not for me, no". I can see today what a woman's place is where she wants it ", she says.
In addition to developing and strengthening qualified technical professional training with a focus on safety, the action is part of the commitment of the Neoenergia group to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which place Gender Equality as one of the major global goals to be reached by 2030.