Engendering Utilities Welcomes New Partners

Speeches Shim

Female and male utility workers lay power lines through a rural landscape
Female and male employees of Vietnam Electricity, the largest electric utility in Vietnam, lay power lines in Thai Nguyen Province, Vietnam.
Pham Hong Long / Thai Nguyen Power Company

USAID Expands Initiative to Increase Gender Equality in Male-Dominated Sectors

USAID’s Engendering Utilities program welcomes 12 new utility partners from 11 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

USAID’s Engendering Utilities, a program that advances gender equality in male-dominated industries, partnered with 12 new organizations to increase women’s participation in the global energy and water sectors. Building on the successes of our existing partnerships, the program expanded to work with 29 partners in 21 countries. By increasing employment opportunities for women in male-dominated sectors, Engendering Utilities provides tangible economic outcomes for women, including higher-quality and better-paying jobs, and increased household income.

Research shows that when women serve as leaders and employees, businesses benefit and company performance improves. Increasing gender equality enhances employee satisfaction, reduces turnover, and drives productivity, which helps companies meet their business goals. Engendering Utilities provides partner organizations with expert gender coaching, enabling them to uptake tools and actions known to increase gender equality at each phase of the employee life cycle: from recruiting and hiring, to retention and succession planning.

Employees from partner organizations are also invited to participate in Engendering Utilities’ Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, a best-in-class 12-month executive course developed by Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and USAID that empowers decision-makers to integrate gender equality initiatives into their corporate structure. 

The expansion of Engendering Utilities demonstrates the U.S. Government’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment. Engendering Utilities is supported by the  Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Fund at USAID. W-GDP 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 that advance women’s prosperity and participation in the economy.

Our New Partners

In 2020 Engendering Utilities partnered with the following energy and water utilities:

  • Albania

    Operatori I Shpërndarjes Së Energjisë Elektrike (OSHEE)

    OSHEE is a government-owned electric utility and Albania’s largest employer. Of its 6,000 employees, 30 percent are women, the majority of whom serve in traditionally female-dominated customer care roles. Read the profile

  • Burkina Faso

    Société Nationale d'electricité du Burkina (SONABEL)

    State-owned SONABEL provides renewable energy to more than 620,000 people. A growing company, less than a quarter of SONABEL’s staff and just four of the company’s 20 executives are women. Read the profile

  • Ethiopia

    Ethiopia Electric Utility Company (EEU)

    EEU has more than 2.7 million customers and aims to connect 100 percent of the country to the grid by 2025. Out of more than 18,000 employees, only 21 percent are women. Read the profile

  • Jordan

    Jordan Water Company L.L.C. (Miyahuna)

    Miyahuna is a water and sanitation services company serving nearly one million water subscribers and over 700,000 wastewater subscribers. Nine percent of the utility’s 2,300 employees are women. Read the profile

  • Kenya

    Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen)

    KenGen owns and operates 70 percent of Kenya’s power plants and is a leading energy company in East Africa. Within KenGen, 25 percent of staff and one third of board members are women. Read the profile

  • Lesotho

    Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC)

    LEC is a state-owned utility that provides power to over 230,000 customers in Maseru and the area surrounding the capital. LEC employs over 500 people, of which 20 percent are women. Read the profile

  • Nigeria

    Imo State Water and Sewerage Corporation (ISWSC)

    ISWSC supplies water to over three million Nigerians in Imo state. Over 40 percent of staff at ISWSC are women, but few occupy technical and field-based roles. Read the profile

  • Philippines

    Zamboaga City Water District (ZCWD)

    ZCWD is a government-owned and controlled utility that supplies water to the sixth largest city in the country, Zamboanga City. ZCWD has 625 employees, but only 93 are women. Read the profile

  • Rwanda

    Rwanda Energy Group (REG)

    REG is a state-owned electric utility that imports, exports, generates and distributes electricity in Rwanda. The utility has over 1,300 employees, of which 17 percent are women. Read the profile

  • Senegal

    Office des Forages Ruraux (OFOR)

    OFOR manages all rural water services in Senegal. A quarter of OFOR’s 70 employees are women; a statistic the company hopes to improve in the coming years. Read the profile

  • Senegal

    Senegal National Electricity Agency (Senelec)

    Senelec is a publicly owned utility serving Senegal’s urban centers. Out of a total of approximately 3,125 employees, 22 percent are women. Read the profile

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam Electricity (EVN)

    EVN is the largest utility in Vietnam, producing and supplying nearly 60 percent of Vietnam’s energy. EVN has nearly 100,000 employees and just over 20 percent are women. Read the profile

USAID’s Engendering Utilities program works with organizations in male-dominated industries to increase economic opportunities for women, improve gender equality, boost business performance, and strengthen economies. Through a customized best practices framework, demand-driven coaching, and a Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, Engendering Utilities builds the capacity of leaders to implement gender equality interventions that increase the professional participation of women and meet their core business goals.

Launched in 2015, the Engendering Utilities program demonstrates USAID’s commitment to promote a path to self-reliance and resilience in developing countries by fostering enterprise-driven innovation, inclusive economic growth, and gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Engendering Utilities is a key activity under the U.S. Government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which aims to reach 50 million women by 2025 through innovative and effective programs.

Last updated: January 27, 2021

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