In North Macedonia, the Future is Female

Speeches Shim

How a Power Utility is Opening Doors for Girls and Women

Nearly forty percent of EVN’s employees are male technicians, many nearing retirement. With a limited national talent pool, EVN began building the next generation of STEM professionals, starting with girls.

EVN felt a responsibility to combat cultural biases against girls and women in the energy sector, and embarked on a mission to inspire girls to pursue vocational education and training and start a career in a growing industry. With support from USAID’s Engendering Industries program, EVN began designing outreach campaigns targeting girls in primary schools across Skopje. Female staff from EVN visited schools, discussed opportunities for women at the company, encouraged girls to think about jobs in the power sector, and reiterated a strong and clear message: girls and women make great engineers and technicians. The impact of their outreach was encouraging, and started shifting the perceptions of both parents and students.

The utility complemented its external outreach with internal outreach efforts, seeking to shift staff attitudes about women and girls. In 2016 EVN held its first Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Over the course of the day, girls performed technical tasks alongside their parents, and sat side-by-side listening to talks about the important role women play in the company, and the even greater role they could play in the future of the power sector. The utility also created an internship program, providing STEM and vocational students with the opportunity to gain work experience while discovering if a career in energy is right for them. The utility collaborates with technical universities to organize workshops and market internship opportunities. Over 60 percent of the interns at EVN to date have been female.

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.

Friday, October 9, 2020 - 1:00pm

Last updated: February 23, 2022