Women in Sustainable Hydropower Case Study: Leticia Almeida

Meet Leticia Almeida, Legal Department Coordinator from the Jirau Hydropower Plant (HPP), located on the Madeira River, in the State of Rondônia, in Northern Brazil. This plant is the fourth largest power plant in the country and the largest hydroelectric project of the ENGIE Group worldwide.

Leticia Almeida, Legal Department Coordinator from the Jirau Hydropower Plant (HPP), Brazil.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at ENGIE.
Hello! My name is Leticia Almeida and I'm 32 years old. I'm married to Ulisses, and have two children, Lourenço and Catarina. I joined Jirau in 2020 as a junior lawyer and, over the years, I advanced to the position of Legal Department Coordinator. Located on the Madeira River, in Rondônia, Jirau Energia is one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world in terms of number of turbines and has been contributing to the sustainable generation of renewable energy in the Amazon for a decade. ENGIE is one of Jirau's main shareholders, reinforcing our commitment to clean and sustainable energy.

Tell us more about the work ENGIE is doing to ensure gender equality in the workplace and how you have benefited.
Since 2023, I’ve had the privilege of actively participating in the female leadership development program 'Empowering Women in Leadership', promoted by ENGIE. This program brings together women from all over South America, from different companies in the group and with a wide range of experiences and skills in different areas of activity.

A highlight for me was the individual session in which I had the opportunity to analyze my profile with a coach, discussing areas for improvement and identifying my own areas of strength. As a direct beneficiary of this program, I can confidently say that it not only strengthens my leadership skills, but also empowers me to be an agent of change and inspire other women to achieve their professional goals.

As a successful female role model for other women interested in working in the hydropower industry what advice would you give them?
My advice to other women interested in entering this field is to be present and engaged, without being afraid to speak up and defend their views. It is crucial that women recognize the value of their presence and contribution in an industry historically dominated by men. Having confidence in your skills and knowledge is essential to face the challenges and opportunities that arise in the workplace. Additionally, seeking mentors and support networks within and outside the industry can be extremely beneficial for one's professional and personal growth. Always remember that your voice and perspective are important and deserve to be heard. By standing up firmly and authentically, women can play a significant role in transforming culture and promoting gender equality in the hydropower industry, as they also have the ability to open doors for other groups, not only focusing on gender equity.

Why do you think the industry has historically fallen behind in establishing female representation and how do you think this can be changed so we no longer need to have these conversations?
Our industry has historically faced significant challenges in promoting female representation due to several factors rooted in organisational culture and social structures. Firstly, the traditionally masculine nature of the workplace in sectors such as hydropower has created barriers to women's entry and advancement.

However, it is encouraging to see that companies like Jirau and ENGIE are taking active steps to change this reality. One of the main strategies is the implementation of programs and initiatives designed to promote gender equality and the appreciation of female leaders. These measures not only address existing gender inequalities, but also create an enabling environment for women's professional growth and development.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
May this continued support for women's careers inspire other organisations to follow the same path, creating truly inclusive and empowering work environments for everyone. Together, we can accomplish even greater achievements and build a future where gender equality is a reality in all sectors of society.

IHA has joined forces with GWNet to create Women In Sustainable Hydropower (WISH), a space where women in, and interested in, a career in hydropower can connect, share experiences and provide support to other women. This will help guarantee the development of a gender-balanced sector that makes the most of 100% of the global workforce available for driving the clean energy transition.

Find out more here.

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