Engendering Utilities: Improving Gender Diversity in Power Sector Utilities

USAID’s Energy Division within the Office of Energy and Infrastructure (E&I) in the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) is proud to release the Engendering Utilities (EU) Program Phase I Report.

The EU Program focuses on improving information about and knowledge of gender in power sector utilities at the distribution level. As you will read in the report, the research phase of the program helped USAID better understand how electricity utilities can increase the labor market participation of women in the energy sector. Our goals were to better understand where women work, where they are not working, why they are not working there, and could they be working there.

The research goal of this report is to improve our knowledge of gender in power distribution companies (DISCOs) through an empirical study of labor practices in a sample of utilities throughout the world. This report is part of a USAID program designed to improve labor market opportunities for women in the energy sector and better understand how improved gender outcomes can contribute to better business practices and improved operations in distribution utilities.

The study also revealed that women work in diverse jobs at all management levels, alongside men who are their counterparts within utility companies. Jobs traditionally staffed by men in one utility may be held by women at another utility, and jobs traditionally staffed by women may be held by men elsewhere. These findings not only illustrate gender diversity of employment within utility companies, but also suggest that interventions designed to improve gender diversity must be carefully tailored to the circumstances of individual companies. Our preliminary findings suggest there is no “one size fits all” solution: HR and/or gender specialists need to gather specific data on employment and information on energy sector and HR practices to formulate successful interventions to improve gender outcomes. This is the approach followed in the Engendering Utilities Program.

The data facilitate the creation of company-specific interventions to improve women’s career prospects while improving the quality and cost of electricity services.

The EU Program focuses on seven utilities from five countries in three regions. These “Partner Utilities” are:

Engendering Utilities Program Partner Utilities
Country Utility Company
Jordan Electricity Distribution Company (EDCO)
Irbid District Electricity Company (IDECO)
Georgia Energo-Pro, Georgia
Macedonia EVN Macedonia
Nigeria Eko Electricity Distribution PLC (EKEDP)
Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC)
Kenya Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC)

For additional information please contact Amanda Valenta or Corinne Hart.

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 12:00pm