Acting for gender equality is a commitment of Neoenergia, with the aim of contributing to sustainable development. The School of Electricians, an initiative that promotes free training for residents of the company's concession areas, is one of the tools to stimulate the growth of the number of women in the electricity sector, in a profession previously mostly occupied by men.
"Encouraging the presence of women in an activity still seen as male not only expands the opportunity in the labor market, but also supports the constant search for gender equity. Equal opportunities, besides being a primary right, is also one of the essential foundations for building a more prosperous and just world for all," says Neoenergia's Superintendent of Organizational Development, Régia Barbosa.
Since 2017, 384 women have been formed by the School of Electricians in mixed classes and exclusive to women – these, promoted by Neoenergia Coelba (BA) and Neoenergia Pernambuco (PE) in an initiative that has been recognized as a global example of one of the Principles of Women's Empowerment (WEPs) by WeEmpower, the UN Women's Program with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union to stimulate good practices of Companies. In all, 268 of these students were hired, with the same salaries and benefits as men.
Joyce Marques, 24, entered the School of Electricians in 2016, when she was 18. Today, he works in the readiness teams of Neoenergia Pernambuco. You can already see a change in the scenario, now, for her, more favorable for women. "Integration into the company makes you feel more at ease, facilitates the whole process. I see you've moved to the workplace, with a bigger dressing room for women," she says. The performance of women is already very natural in the company. The ideal is to show that all women can be wherever they want. Before, it was a male area and today no, we have women live-line electricians in the broadcast. Gradually, we are able to show that we can work in areas that many people have never expected."
Another 54 women are in training in 14 classes started in 2022 distributed in four states and the Federal District. In addition to Bahia and Pernambuco, they promote the Initiative Neoenergia Cosern (RN), Neoenergia Elektro (SP) and Neoenergia Brasília (DF). The company has been working to expand the participation of women in the project. One example is that in one of the classes that are underway in partnership with the National Industrial Learning Service (Senai) of the Federal District, the participation of women reaches 58%. In Mossoró and Natal, in Rio Grande do Norte, the percentages are 42% and 33%, respectively.
Thawanny Souza Gomes, 28, is one of the students benefiting from the initiative at Neoenergia Brasília this year. For her, who is in training, the initiative is not only a way to offer opportunities for training and employment, but also to contribute to gender equality. "The School of Electricians generates the interest of women in this area. Women see women doing and see themselves able to perform the task. It's an incentive for women to see that the industry is not exclusively for men," he says.
"I think it's important even because of the issue of women's empowerment," agrees Clécia Maria Bezerra dos Santos, 34, a student who graduated from the Neoenergia Cosern initiative in February. Some people even laugh, but I never let my head down for it, a lot of people still think that women can't be electricians, every stage won was a great achievement. I want to start working, growing and taking other courses."
The expansion of opportunities for women is aligned with Neoenergia's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially number 5, on gender equality. In addition to this initiative, internally, the company operates with a Diversity Program that focuses on promoting a work environment of inclusion, respect for diversity, empowerment and combating prejudice. Human Resources processes were reviewed and the company began to promote more inclusive selection processes and train leaders for diversity management.