Centrales Eléctricas del Norte de Santander (CENS), Colombia

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A small group of happy female and male engineers in hard hats review technical documents at a power station
CENS is a Colombian power utility that is at the forefront of the global energy transition. CENS serves over 560,000 customers and employs 600 people, and thirty percent are women.
  • Announcement

    Engendering Industries Welcomes New Partners

    USAID’s Engendering Industries program welcomes 13 new partners from 10 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Read the announcement

Engendering Industries Partner Profile

CENS is a Colombian power utility that is at the forefront of the global energy transition. CENS serves over 560,000 customers and employs 600 people, thirty percent of whom 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 CENS—a Colombian power utility—to design workplace initiatives that will expand job opportunities for women and enhance the utility’s performance.  CENS serves over 560,000 customers across 47 municipalities, and the utility is at the forefront of the global energy transition to renewables to mitigate climate change. Less than thirty percent of the utility’s 600 employees are women. Recognizing that diverse teams build better businesses, CENS is partnering with USAID to increase gender balance across the company 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 CENS 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 CENS 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 CENS. 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 CENS’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 CENS, including:

  • Hiring of female line workers with the support of the National Training Service, which sponsors training for young professionals. CENS recently hired four female line workers, positions historically held by men, and plans to hire more women for technical positions.
  • Improving the utility’s corporate leadership programs by developing new training modules on women’s empowerment and gender equality. 
  • Adopting gender equitable language in all human resources materials and processes to help eliminate barriers in the recruitment, selection, and retention of employees.

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: February 23, 2022

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