On March 16, 2021, thirty participants of USAID's Engendering Utilities program graduated from the Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program. Developed by USAID and Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, the 12-month program delivers a best-in-class curriculum that empowers managers and decision-makers to effectively integrate gender equality initiatives across their organization. The leadership program is part of Engendering Utilities, which works with 29 water and energy utilities in 21 countries to create economic opportunities for women.
“This program will enable us to translate our gender equality vision into an action plan that will positively impact people at our company," said Assa Filipe Fumo, Learning and Development Department Manager at power utility, EDM, in Mozambique. "We will now have an integrated, consistent, and strategic approach to deal with the gender equality challenges we are facing."
The thirty program graduates make up the second cohort of companies participating in the program and hail from ten participating utilities spanning eight countries. Participants of the leadership program learned how to analyze existing company policies and practices with a gender lens, and worked with a gender equality and change management coach to create actions plans to address workplace gender equality gaps.
Participants also learned how to monitor company progress and evaluate their company's gender equality efforts. Course participants will continue to receive support from their gender equality and change management coaches going forward. Using a customized scorecard, participants will work with their organizations to make strategic, data-driven decisions to improve gender equality and track the impact of gender equality interventions on overall company performance.
As a result of their participation in the Engendering Utilities program and Gender Equity Executive Leadership Course, the ten graduating utilities have:
- Implemented more than 190 gender equality activities
- Drafted reviewed and implemented 25 policies
- Hired more than 400 women, and promoted 370 women into technical and leadership positions.
- Accepted 120 young women into internship and trainee programs
- Reached more than 2,000 female learners and job seekers through school outreach and career recruitment events
- Trained 3,700 women on technical and soft skills to support career advancement
- Trained 730 men and 800 women on gender equality issues.
“Women are underrepresented in the formal workforce globally, and particularly in male-dominated industries, like the energy and water sectors," said USAID Senior Gender Advisor Corinne Hart. "Gender equality is not just an issue of fairness. Research shows that when women serve as leaders and employees of private companies, businesses benefit and performance improves.”
A recent study by McKinsey analyzed more than 1,000 companies in 12 countries and concluded that gender-diverse companies are more likely to outperform their national industry average in terms of profitability. Companies with gender-diverse boards outperform those with no women during times of crisis or volatility.
For more information about the leadership program, visit https://www.usaid.gov/energy/engendering-utilities/ or follow the conversation on social media at #EngenderingUtilities.