Celsia, Colombia

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Three female Celsia technicians in safety gear operate a drone to inspect power equipment.
Celsia is a Colombian power utility that generates 100 percent of its power from clean energy. Thirty percent of the utility’s 2,100 employees are women.
© Celsia
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Engendering Industries Partner Profile

Celsia is a Colombian power utility that generates 100 percent of its power from clean energy. At the forefront of the global energy transition, Celsia serves 1 million customers and employs 2,100 people. Thirty percent of Celsia employees are women.

When women serve as leaders and employees, businesses benefit and company performance improves.  USAID’s Engendering Industries program works to increase women’s participation in male-dominated sectors globally.  In 2021, Engendering Industries partnered with Celsia—a Colombian power utility—to design workplace initiatives that will expand job opportunities for women while enhancing the utility’s performance.  The utility serves over 1 million people in 87 municipalities, and generates 100 percent of its power from clean energy, including hydro, wind, and solar sources. Celsia is at the forefront of the global energy transition to mitigate climate change, and increasing gender equality is a key piece of the strategy. Only thirty percent of the utility’s 2,100 employees are women, and the company is partnering with USAID to advance women in the workforce, and encourage more women to enter Colombia’s energy sector. 

Gender Equality in Action

Engendering Industries uses a globally-recognized evidence-based methodology to support women’s participation in Colombia’s energy sector. The program supports Celsia to increase opportunities for women by introducing gender equality initiatives at each phase of the employee lifecycle—from reducing gender bias at the hiring stage, to creating strategies that will help retain female talent. Engendering Industries is supporting Celsia towards their goal of advancing gender equality within the organization.

A dedicated change management coach supports the utility and works directly with three staff to become agents of change within Celsia. A baseline assessment is conducted to identify gaps and opportunities for improving gender equality across the company. The findings are used to develop a strategic action plan that will facilitate Celsia’s gender equality goals. This is supplemented by the program’s partnership with the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, which delivers the Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program (GEELP) to three utility employees. The GEELP is a best-in-class 12-month executive course that empowers decisionmakers to integrate gender equality initiatives into their corporate structure.

Engendering Industries will also work to support and accelerate existing gender equality initiatives underway at Celsia, including:

  • Strengthening its Gender Equity and Diversity policy, which includes measures to promote equality in recruitment and renumeration and the prevention of sexual harassment.
  • Signing of the Sello Equipares (Labor Equality Seal) – Management System for Gender Equality agreement, which recognizes that women and men are equal participants in both the home and in the workplace.
  • Publicizing gender-equality initiatives to improve the company’s public image. The utility recently ranked three out of 70 among other Colombian private companies in the 2019 Par ranking, which measures gender equality at organizations. It also achieved the Gender Equality Seal with gold in Panamá and silver in Colombia. This is an initiative of the United Nations Department Program (UNDP) and the ministries of labor of each country.
  • Developing an alliance with the National Learning Service (SENA) and Deltec, a company that provides engineering services. Celsia will train women in Industrial Electricity as part of a program targeted to support mothers, women who are heads of their households, and women belonging to ethnic minority groups.
  • Growing the number of female employees. Celsia currently has more than 2,100 employees and 30 percent are women. This percentage has grown by 62 percent between 2016 and 2020. The utility will continue working to gradually increase this number.

Three GridCo technicians pose in front of an electric power station
GridCo Technicians
Ryan Kilpatrick / USAID

Launched in 2015, USAID’s Engendering Industries program supports organizations in developing countries to increase economic opportunities for women and improve gender equality in the workplace. Expanding women’s participation in male-dominated sectors leads to tangible economic empowerment outcomes for women, such as formal employment opportunities and higher income. Increased gender equality also improves an organization’s business performance, helping companies meet their bottom-line by enhancing employee satisfaction, reducing turnover, and driving productivity. Well-functioning organizations are also vital in supporting stronger and more resilient economies. Through a customized best practices framework, demand-driven coaching, and a Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, Engendering Industries builds the capacity of leaders to implement gender equality interventions that increase the professional participation of women and improve business performance.

Last updated: November 15, 2021

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