- Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
- Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
- Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment
Institutionalizing gender equity
Institutionalize commitments to ensure gender integration efforts are successful across the company:
- Harmonize company operations with national policies and frameworks around energy and around gender.
- Establish corporate-level commitment to gender equity, and clearly communicate this to managers and staff.
- Have a company plan for gender diversity, including targets and measurement systems.
- Report externally on company plan for gender diversity and targets, then report out on progress towards those targets (e.g. through an annual report).
- Collect disaggregated HR data on recruitment, hiring, pay, promotion, and retention by gender (and other categories such as race and ethnicity).
- Review and revise all HR policies to contain gender-inclusive language and ensure gender equality,
- Assess and revise internal and external communications to contain gender neutral and or gender equitable language and photos.
Recruitment & hiring
Ensure diversity across roles and positions:
- Create non-traditional roles for women, e.g. as drivers and transportation specialists.
- Employ women in non-traditional technical roles, such as electrical engineers.
- Promote networking, exploration of career paths, and informational interviews. Foster interaction between female candidates and other employees at all staff levels. Encourage discussion of opportunities for women in non-traditional roles, for example through employee resource groups and rotational programs.
Professional development & skill building
Develop, motivate, and retain organizational talent with equitable opportunities to build skills and advance:
- Ensure professional development and career advancement opportunities (including mentorship and trainings) meet the needs of, and are accessible to and used by both men and women.
Develop a more skilled workforce by capitalizing on female talent:
- Create a structured rotational program for employees to gain exposure to non-traditional roles and learn new skills across the workplace.
- Ensure training curriculum covers both hard/technical skills and soft skills needed in the job.
- Tailor training content and delivery style to female employees to increase effectiveness of knowledge/skills transfer. Things to consider include: timing of trainings, location, language of instruction, in-person vs. remote (remote access to trainings may help female employees overcome mobility, time, and literacy constraints), provision of transportation and childcare, and use of female trainers (including women in training videos).
Facilitate ongoing support and networking opportunities among female employees:
- Pair new hires with a sponsor to advocate for their interest and make their accomplishments visible to higher-level staff.
- Implement a mentorship program, assessing young workers’ needs and matching them with relevant male or female mentors. Sensitize both mentors and mentees on the purpose and appropriate dynamics of the relationship, and create incentives for participation.
- Create conversation/connection opportunities with female role models. Highlighting successful women in leadership positions can attract female applicants and encourage current employees to take on leadership roles.
- Facilitate Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for women in leadership, working parents, LGBTQ employees or others concerned with gender equality at work, etc. Engage with worker unions and ERGs to understand needs and perceptions of women and men in the workforce.
- Provide information on how women can join professional networks for women in the energy sector, e.g. internal ERGs or external associations such as national or international networks: Women in Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) mentor network, the POWERful Women initiative, and Women in African Power (WiAP), Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), Women in Power Sector (WIPS) South Asia network.
Employee evaluation & promotion
- Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work).
- Use a uniform evaluation cycle. Conducting performance reviews of all employees simultaneously helps supervisors dedicate ample time to write good evaluations and ensure consistency among all employees.
- Ensure managers are given adequate time to do their evaluations, as the more rushed people are, the more they rely on stereotypes.
- Assess employee performance based on standard decisive factors and metrics that are consistent across other employees in similar job functions. Ensure managers maintain a regular (i.e. monthly or bi-monthly) performance log for each direct-report.
- Establish and implement inclusive, gender-equitable succession plans (ensuring succession plans including gender-neutral selection criteria and plans to develop candidates).
Eliminate pay gaps between positions of comparable levels:
- Do not ask for previous salary history or have applicants name a salary when hiring.
- Create narrow pay bands, as women are less likely to negotiate the first offer.
- If possible, implement pay equity processes grounded in statistical analysis with annual reviews, including bonuses or commissions. Control for observable factors such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
- Provide managers with pay data for the organization, benchmarks for their male and female supervisees, and if applicable, market information on employment in the sector.
- Inform employees of low, median and high pay ranges for particular roles.
- Implement formal remediation protocols to ensure pay equity processes are implemented appropriately and that manager discretion doesn’t promote inequality.
Flexible work and care
- Offer flexible work opportunities to accommodate work-life demands of men and women. Options will vary based on the demands of the position and could include: flexible start times, compressed work week, and/or telecommuting or working from home.
- Measure and track proportion of employees who are and are not using flexible work options, and disaggregate by gender.
- Encourage managers to make use of benefits to demonstrate their acceptance to their teams (such as flexible work, parental leave, family and medical leave, and paid-time off).
- Support access to child and dependent care, such as provide on-site childcare, reserve reduced-rate spaces in local childcare centers, and/or offer subsidies or vouchers to preferred child and elder care providers.
Health and safety considerations
Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:
- Provide health care benefits (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
- Have a paid maternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
- Have a paid paternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
- Establish return-to-work policies, providing a transition back to full-time work for parents returning from leave.
- Support new mothers’ return to work by providing a private rest area or lactation room for breastfeeding/pumping.
- Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
- Conduct equity and impact analysis of benefits, including usage and uptake of benefits disaggregated by gender.
- Provide options for insurance packages that cover the specific health needs of women (e.g., gynecology, maternal health, reproductive health, domestic violence).
If plant/work site is in remote or rural location, ensure employees have access to quality healthcare services and clinics:
- Coordinate onsite mobile clinics for screens for employees, with health providers that are trained on women’s health issues and needs.
- Establish linkages with local health clinics and service providers for referral purposes, including ones that cover pecific needs of women, including reproductive and maternal health.
Ensure plant/work site grounds are safe for all employees:
- Provide adequate and safe toilet facilities for women that accommodate hygiene needs, such as clean water and soap and disposal methods for feminine hygiene products.
- Regularly check work site grounds to ensure they are adequately lit and secure.
- If applicable, provide appropriate personal protective equipment for men and women (e.g., coveralls and workboots in female sizes), especially taking into consideration the needs of pregnant and nursing women.
Accommodate pregnant workers’ health and safety needs:
- In cases where a job may potentially be harmful or physically challenging for pregnant women, allow temporary job reassignment and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon return to work.
Addressing gender-based violence & harassment
Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where workers are safe and productive:
- Develop a strong sexual harassment policy and make employees aware of it.
This can include a definition of sexual harassment, and a statement about the company/project’s commitment to providing a “zero-tolerance” work zone free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It should detail consequences for violators of the policy, potentially including termination and/or referral to law enforcement if appropriate, referencing any legislation on gender-based violence and/or workplace harassment.
- Research and include in the policy a local referral pathway for survivors of violence. The policy should provide direction on how to lodge sexual harassment complaints and identify which services are available for victims through the workplace and in the community. In addition, the policy should stipulate that complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and discretion.
- Include a whistleblower policy to reduce fear of retalliation, and raise awareness on how workers can use it to anonymously report instances of GBV and sexual harassment on the work site or in the community. It should state that preventing and addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of all employees. It also should clarify protections and support for bystander employees who report incidents, as well as the process for action and follow up.
- Socialize the policy with all levels of workers and contractors, providing annual refresher training to permanent employees on zero-tolerance for all forms of violence (including engaging in sex-based harassment or acts of sexual exploitation of women and girls while on business travel). Ensure information is widely disseminated in local language(s) using images or audio/video explanations where literacy levels are low.
- Train all new workers and employees on what constitutes and causes different manifestations of GBV, including sex-based harassment and sexual exploitation. Include bystander training, which instills strategies and skills in coworkers to intervene and deter GBV and harassment.
- Implement a confidential grievance mechanism for victims of GBV/harassment that involves third party reporting systems and transparent consequences. If promoting a hotline, provide employees with phone access or small denominations of mobile “airtime” where needed.
- Train resource personnel who can help handle the process. Form a confidential committee with “diagonal” representation (not just senior HR) to improve accountability in investigating and responding to GBV and harassment reports.
- To encourage others to use the grievance mechanism, regularly inform staff about resolved cases and any disciplinary action taken, omitting identifying details to preserve confidentiality.
Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence in the community:
- Consider female employees’ safety when traveling to and from remote locations. For example, have female and male colleagues travel together if/when needed. If safety on public transportation is a risk for women, consider providing designated employer shuttles.