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

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

USAID’s Engendering Industries, 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 Industries 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 Industries 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 Industries’ 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 Industries demonstrates the U.S. Government’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment. Engendering Industries 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 Industries 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.                                    

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.                              

  • 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.                                                                                            

  • 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.                                 

About Engendering Industries

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.