Engendering Utilities Quarterly Newsletter | September 2020
Female and male employees of Vietnam Electricity - the largest electric utility in Vietnam - lay power lines in Thai Nguyen Province. Pham Hong Long - Thai Nguyen Power Company
Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment is Critical During COVID-19

People, businesses, and countries around the globe continue to adapt to the difficult realities of COVID-19. Engendering Utilities is actively supporting partners to understand and address the unique impacts of the pandemic on women.

By helping partners create flexible work schedules, develop gender-inclusive disaster management plans, and adapt coaching to the changing environment, Engendering Utilities continues to push women's economic empowerment forward—supporting organizations to respond to the pandemic and build better workplaces.

We applaud utility employees who are keeping the lights on and the water flowing around the world. Thank you for your commitment to your work, organizations, and people.
Female Perspectives Raise Revenue for Indian Power Utility
In 2017 Engendering Utilities partner, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL)—an Indian energy utility—was losing substantial revenue in select neighborhoods of Outer West Delhi. Electricity theft was common in this region, perpetuated by the ease and social normalization of stealing power.

To quell revenue losses, power companies across the city began sending law enforcement officers to recover payments, with mixed success. BRPL came up with another strategy, and a successful one: they sent women. Read the story.
Ilir Shala, CEO, Kosovo Electricity Transmission, System, and Market Operator (KOSTT)
In 2019 KOSTT, Kosovo's power transmission, system, and market operator, partnered with Engendering Utilities to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment across their organization. Bolstered by nearly 30 coaching sessions with Engendering Utilities, KOSTT developed equal opportunity, sexual harassment, and gender equality policies, set benchmarks to increase gender equality across the organization, and is striving to become an employer of choice for women in Kosovo.

In 2020 KOSTT worked to make corporate recruitment processes more equitable by creating gender-inclusive job ads, expanding the education and experience criteria for candidates, and adding "women are encouraged to apply" to all position descriptions. These changes increased the number of women applicants for open positions, and in 2020 the utility hired the first-ever female substation operator.

Ilir Shala, CEO of KOSTT, spoke about how Engendering Utilities is making a difference in his company. Watch the video.
KenGen Powers through the Pandemic
Engendering Utilities partner KenGen, an electricity utility in Kenya, introduced a new gender-inclusive disaster response plan in the aftermath of COVID-19. The utility assembled a crisis response team comprised of three advisory committees—two of which are chaired by women—to ensure the unique needs of women are considered in the company’s crisis response plans.

The KenGen women's networking group, Pink Energy, hosts virtual gatherings, enabling female employees to discuss challenges faced by women at this time. The Managing Director of KenGen was recently appointed to the World Bank's Advisory Council on Gender and Development; a nod to the utility's gender equality efforts. Watch this local news highlight on the innovative ways KenGen is coping with COVID-19.
KenGen CEO Wins African Inspirational Business Leadership Award
Rebecca Miano, CEO of Engendering Utilities partner, KenGen, received the African Inspirational Business Leadership Award. African Leadership Magazine, which conferred the award, reiterated the need for strong and inspirational leaders during these unprecedented times. "The role of the business community to become strong positive references for society and inspire hope to solve more of the problems facing the African people today is more important than ever," the publisher said.

Since Mrs. Miano became CEO in 2017, over 200 women have been hired by the company, and 300 female employees have been promoted. The utility seeks to hire more women with the goal of building a workforce that is 30 percent female by 2025. Results of a recent organization Health Assessment Survey (OHA) conducted at KenGen shows that the gap in satisfaction levels between women and men has reduced from 28 percent in 2016, to two percent in 2020. Going forward, KenGen will continue working internally to shift perceptions of the roles of women at the utility, hire and train more female engineers, ensure internal policies enable the utility to meet its gender equality goals, and increase the number of women employed in revenue-generating units.
Catalyzing Professional Development for West African Women Energy Leaders
The energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa remains male-dominated, with few women in leadership and supervisory positions. To improve this situation, Power Africa, USAID, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), and the Centre Africain d'etudes Superieures en Gestion (African Center for Higher Studies in Management) delivered the first French-language iteration of the Young Women in African Power Leadership Training in West Africa. Learn more about the initiative.
Boosting Operational Performance through Gender Equality
Engendering Utilities supports EGENCO—Malawi's power generation company—in its efforts to build a culture of gender equality within the company, which studies show can enhance employee satisfaction, reduce employee turnover, and drive productivity—helping companies enhance operational performance and meet business goals. EGENCO's actions to improve gender equality include updating the company's Gender and Social Inclusion Policy (in draft) to reflect the cultural environment in which the utility operates, offering internships to women studying engineering, and conducting training on gender awareness and mainstreaming for employees at all levels. Learn more about support to EGENCO.
Gender-Equitable Staffing
Engendering Utilities partner Kenya Power made significant progress towards their women's empowerment goals. The utility is close to reaching its 2030 target of 30 percent women in senior management an entire decade earlier than expected. Recent appointments of women into the positions of General Managers in Legal and Corporate Affairs, HR, and Customer Service increased female representation from 10 percent to 27 percent.
A CEO's Commitment to Gender Equality
Engendering Utilities partner Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) welcomed a new CEO, Marcelino Gildo Alberto, who spoke to the critical role gender equality and women’s empowerment plays in EDM's business strategy. "EDM has to achieve three strategic priorities: achieving universal access to energy, positioning Mozambique as an energy hub in southern Africa, and establishing ourselves as a model public electricity service company, which optimizes gender equality and business and operational excellence," Alberto said.
Women in African Power Network 
The Women in African Power (WiAP) network supports the participation and advancement of women in Africa's energy sector. The network provides members with opportunities to connect, learn, and share information about professional growth opportunities. Members have access to webinars, networking opportunities, newsletters, success stories, and other resources. Learn more about WiAP and become a member.
Gender Equality and COVID-19
Engendering Utilities delivered the webinars Practical Gender Equality Actions to Improve Utility Resilience to COVID-19 Impacts and Gender-Inclusive Disaster Planning in the Age of COVID-19. The webinars illustrated the importance of using a gender lens to strengthen the resilience of the workforce, the unique needs of disaster risk planning for COVID-19, and the potential impacts of the pandemic on women.
WGDP Logo Horizontal
Engendering Utilities is a key activity contributing to the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, launched by the White House, which is the first-ever whole-of-government initiative focused on advancing women’s full and free participation in the global economy. By 2025, W-GDP aims to reach 50 million women through innovative and effective programs, such as Engendering Utilities. All the activities mentioned in this edition of the newsletter are fully or partially funded by the W-GDP Fund. Learn more about W-GDP at www.wgdp.gov