in the midst of Juba electrification an inspiring story emerged of positive gender roles and employment opportunities. Electrical engineer Monica Yom Aleer, an employee of Portal Limited has been at the forefront of connecting at least five South Sudanese homes to power since early December, 2019. The 26-year-old graduated in Electrical Engineering from Nairobi in 2015
We had a chance to catch up with Monica during a work day in the field connecting power in Munuki – Sug Libya where she expressed the difficulties and obstacles she faced as she pursued her degree and eventual career. “My family, especially my brother, did not support my career of choice. They said it is a male field. It’s true, it is male dominant but a woman can do it too. I was determined to finish my degree and I did. My brother and my family are proud of me after seeing my achievements and the importance of my work to the community and its development.”
As the only female Electrician of Portal Limited for the past year, Monica is well known amongst her colleagues who did not hold back in expressing their pride of her accomplishments. As well as encouraging her to inspire other young ladies to join the electrical engineering field.
When asked about her journey and future plans, she adds “Electricity is a necessity not a luxury and every South Sudanese deserves to have it. I will remain with Portal Limited for as long as the project is ongoing, I will also remain on my career path until I have connected as many people as I can to electricity if not all. I have dreams of seeing more females than myself on electricity poles, fixing generators, driving tractors or any other male dominant fields. It is not hard, we just lack the opportunity to even try but determination is key”.
The gender employment gap is evidently large in South Sudan. In terms of how many women are employed compared to men and also jobs or careers available for men compared to women. Monica’s journey, will to learn and build, is what helped her excel in the electrical industry and contribute to its development. Creating jobs is one solution breaching the gender employment gap but existing jobs / careers becoming available for both genders might be key to resolving the issue of inequality in the future.
By Eva Lopa