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These tools for power infrastructure can be used to explore gender opportunities, screen potential investments through a gender lens, and advise portfolio companies on how to better integrate gender into their operations and supply chains.

OPPORTUNITIES EXPLORER

Understand opportunities to better integrate gender in a project / company’s operations and supply chain.

GENDER SCORING TOOL

Complete a questionnaire about the project / company to generate a personalized gender scorecard.

CASE STUDIES

Explore how leading power companies integrate gender into their operations, and the resulting business and social benefits

    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
    • Key

      • 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:

      • 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

      Implement equitable recruitment and hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from job descriptions and listings. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job, e.g., for physically demanding roles, describe specific tasks like climbing a ladder rather than encouraging the “physically fit” to apply.
      • Expand sourcing networks to attract a more diverse talent pool particularly in areas that are traditionally male-dominated. Look at diversity-oriented job groups, and partner with diversity organizations or diversity-oriented groups at universities to offer internships to high potential female candidates.
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job.
       

      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.
      • 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. Consider: timing, location, language of instruction, in-person vs. remote (to help female employees overcome mobility and time constraints), provision of transportation and childcare, and use of female trainers (including 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).
       

      Pay equity

      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, cancer screens, domestic violence treatment).
       

      If plant/work site is in remote or rural location, ensure employees have access to quality healthcare services and clinics:

      • Coordinate onsite or mobile clinics to provide health 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 specific 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 at full pay and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon returning to previous role.
       

      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 retaliation, 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.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilities or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • Engage the government on gender-inclusive procurement reform and participate in pilot programs to reform national procurement practice. Governments may be reluctant to positively discriminate with public funds in favor of women-owned businesses; however accelerating gender equity is a complementary objective that delivers macroeconomic benefits at large, which may be especially material in the development of public goods such as infrastructure.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for women-owned businesses. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/information.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart firms. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying 3-5% more on services/products from pre-qualified first- and second-tier suppliers.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas where the company can promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • If a selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Conduct an assessment of the local economy and create opportunities to leverage women’s participation in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Consumers

      Research typical end-users of various energy products in order to design effectively for consumers in the last mile and/or at bottom of the pyramid:

      • Collect and analyze sex-disaggregated data on customer segmentation to understand differentiated needs and interests. This can for instance inform the size or placement of household- or community-level power generation or storage products, and optimize opportunities to sell renewable energy “back to the grid” for profit.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Project company board, public-private steering committee, or government taskforce

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors or taskforce, prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors or delegates to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Create a multi-stakeholder taskforce or steering committee with representatives from government, finance, industry, civil society organizations, and international development agencies to ensure gender equity remains a priority and the energy project aligns with relevant regulatory frameworks.
    • Key

      • 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

      • While infrastructure development is typically structured as a project (or temporary project company), the taskforce or steering committee can still institutionalize gender equity by ensuring all plans and operations harmonize with national policies and frameworks around energy and around gender.
       

      Risk Mitigation

      The team should also mitigate risks related to gender inequities at the start of the project, and institute safeguards and mechanisms to protect women’s and men’s wellbeing throughout implementation:

      • Conduct a gender risk assessment in the planning and development phase to understand how the project may impact women’s safety (both as workers and as community members) throughout the project lifecycle. [See COMMUNITY tab]
      • Develop and implement measures to prevent and respond to potential risks identified during the gender risk assessment.
      • Assess women’s health and safety risks during construction, as an influx of temporary workers to a community may have detrimental impacts to women’s health, safety, such as exposure to violence and sexually transmitted infections.
      • In cases of resettlement, issue joint land titles to both women and men with a claim to land ownership to ensure that underrepresented rights-holder groups, including women, are not excluded from the land-title registration process.
       

      Recruitment & hiring

      Implement equitable tender/recruitment and contracting/hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from role descriptions. Wording in listings can impact whether more females or males apply (i.e. research shows that “masculine” adjectives like “superior,” “competitive,” and “determined,” result in less female applicants). All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job. For example, for physically demanding jobs, describe the specific tasks, rather than describing a “physically fit” candidate.
      • Expand sourcing networks to attract a more diverse talent pool particularly in areas that are traditionally male-dominated. Look at diversity-oriented job groups, and partner with diversity organizations or diversity-oriented groups at universities to offer internships to high potential female candidates.
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job
       

      Professional development & skill building

      • Create skill-building opportunities to convert local women and men in temporary roles (e.g., manual work, food preparation, water collection, work site security, and other casual labor) to ongoing operational roles at the plant.
       

      Pay equity

      For contracted infrastructure/construction firms with full-time employees, 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 commission. Control for observable factors – such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
      • Provide managers with pay data, where they stand in terms of pay for men and women, and if applicable, market information.
      • 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.
       

      For remunerating contractors or casual laborers:

      • Eliminate differential valuation of labor by offering consistent daily rates for casual labor in functions where women and men concentrate respectively.
      • Provide direct payments into contractors’ bank accounts, assisting women to establish their own accounts if necessary. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to determine how the money they earn is spent and may increase their satisfaction and participation in the supply chain.
       

      Health and safety considerations

      Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:

      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Provide health care benefits (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 specific 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.
      • When constructing temporary accommodation for workers, ensure safe separate housing options with adequate facilities for women and men.
      • Regularly check work site grounds to ensure they are adequately lit and secure.
       

      Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (if applicable):

      • Provide 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’ 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 the work site to foster a healthy climate where employees and 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 retaliation, 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 any long-term workers or 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. Have all employees, project staff and temporary workers sign a code of conduct that clearly explains the consequences of violating the policy.
      • 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.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilities or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • Engage the government on gender-inclusive procurement reform and participate in pilot programs to reform national procurement practice. Governments may be reluctant to positively discriminate with public funds in favor of women-owned businesses; however accelerating gender equity is a complementary objective that delivers macroeconomic benefits at large, which may be especially material in the development of public goods such as infrastructure.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for women-owned businesses. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/information.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart firms. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying 3-5% more on services/products from pre-qualified first- and second-tier suppliers.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas where the company can promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • If a selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Conduct an assessment of the local economy and create opportunities to leverage women’s participation in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Community Consultation

      Consult with the local community during project inception and development:

      • Assess women’s health and security risks near the site, as an influx of temporary workers to a community during any large-scale construction project may have detrimental impacts to women, e.g., spread of sexually transmitted infections and instances of trafficking and GBV.
      • Consult with community members (particularly women) throughout the project planning and development process to pinpoint concerns that could disproportionately affect women, e.g., related to resettlement, health, safety, and use of natural resources. Seek representation from a cross-section of the community: women and men of different socio-economic levels, castes, religions, ethnic groups, ages, literacy levels, marital statuses, and abilities.
      • Establish a confidential grievance/feedback mechanism so that community members can express satisfaction, concerns, questions, or complaints about a project and about specific community outreach activities throughout the project lifecycle. Ensure grievance mechanisms are accessible and understandable for community members of various languages and literacy levels.
      • Hold public forums throughout project planning and development to air both men’s and women’s concerns, make collaborative adaptations, and feedback the response to the community. Hold periodic participatory monitoring and evaluation sessions to discuss these issues in a townhall setting, giving special attention to women and youth who might be overshadowed. Share project data publicly so diverse segments play a role in ensuring equitable benefits from the project. Arrange townhalls at a time convenient for women to attend, in venues where they feel comfortable and free to engage in discussion, and in languages that are accessible to them. Consider holding women-only focus groups facilitated by women and female interpreters to discuss specific concerns regarding safety.
       

      Bolt-on Outreach Activities

      Incorporate local education and livelihoods activities into the infrastructure project. Standing out as a supporter of community development helps generate trust with community members, enabling project success, enhancing brand affinity, and strengthening corporate reputation. Community development initiatives contribute to local resilience and capacity, which is also an investment in the potential future supplier base.

      • Identify job opportunities for local community members (male and female) either directly in the project (e.g., as construction or technical workers to develop and maintain the project), or indirect sectors (e.g., in hospitality to cater to the influx of workers). Efforts to positively impact the local labor market enhances reputation and trust with community members.
      • Provide local communities with requisite skills and assets to participate in plant maintenance or sustainability. E.g., train women in financial literacy and provide microloans to establish shops and restaurants nearby. If the community will achieve greater access to energy through the project, provide vocational training for female community members to leverage electricity for home-based entrepreneurial activities like sewing or irrigation.
      • Make investments in social development activities that can target the most persistent gender gaps. If in a context where girls lag boys in educational attainment, invest in secondary-level education through construction or renovation of schools, or provision of scholarships to adolescent girls.
      • Support technical education programs for local youth, piquing their interest in STEM careers and cultivating a talent pipeline in the sector.
      • Invest in community health by constructing or renovating clinics or equipping mobile healthcare units to provide local communities with greater access to quality services, especially catering to women’s health needs, maternal health, and pre-/post-natal care.
      • Invest in ancillary infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ferries, and clean water supply systems to enable communities to more easily access products, labor markets, education, and health services.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Parastatal or company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the multistakeholder taskforce or board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Create a multi-stakeholder taskforce or steering committee with representatives from government, finance, industry, civil society organizations, and international development agencies to ensure consideration of gender and alignment with relevant regulatory frameworks.
    • Key

      • 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).
       

      Pay equity

      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.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilties or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • Engage the government on gender-inclusive procurement reform and participate in pilot programmes to reform national procurement practice. Governments may be reluctant to positively discriminate with public funds in favor of women-owned businesses; however accelerating gender equity is a complementary objective that delivers macroeconomic benefits at large, which may be especially material in the development of public goods such as infrastructure.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for women-owned businesses. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/information.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “”gender-smart”” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart firms. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying 3-5% more on services/products from pre-qualified first- and second-tier suppliers.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas where the company can promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • If a selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Conduct assessment of local economy and create opportunities to leverage women’s participation in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Parastatal or company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Create a multi-stakeholder taskforce or steering committee with representatives from government, finance, industry, civil society organizations, and international development agencies to ensure gender equity remains a priority and the energy project aligns with relevant regulatory frameworks.
    • Key

      • 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 (including price points, etc).
      • 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

      • Target women for new positions, especially line-workers and payment collection agents. Employing women not only diversifies talent on the team, but can enable distribution companies to more effectively align to norms of social contact related to entering households. Gender balance in customer-facing roles can also leverage women’s skills in communicating with customers–often women who are home during the day or manage the phone associated with the account.
      • Screen for qualities that may be important for the position (e.g., motivation, ability to thrive in customer interactions) as opposed to education and job history to avoid excluding talented candidates. Socio-cultural norms and lower education levels may have precluded high-potential women from typical precursor jobs.
      • Offer a trial period of sales agents and payment collectors to test whether the role would be a good fit. This can reduce costs associated with training and retention, as those who are more qualified and committed receive continued support.
       

      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, including ongoing guidance on gender-smart techniques for sales and customer interaction.
      • 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).
       

      Pay equity

      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.
       

      Accommodate pregnant women and mothers who travel for work:

      • 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.
      • Particularly for new mothers, provide flexibility in travel requirements, sales activities, and scheduling meetings.
       

      Health and safety considerations

      • Consider safety needs of female employees traveling to conduct linework, interact with customers, etc. For example, have male and female colleague(s) travel together when/if needed (e.g., in collecting payments from a male customer who has not been paying).
      • Provide field staff with appropriate and safe modes of transportation (e.g., bus, car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring that women are consulted on decision.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where employees and 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 transit and fieldwork:

      • 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.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilties or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • Engage the government on gender-inclusive procurement reform and participate in pilot programmes to reform national procurement practice. Governments may be reluctant to positively discriminate with public funds in favor of women-owned businesses; however accelerating gender equity is a complementary objective that delivers macroeconomic benefits at large, which may be especially material in the development of public goods such as infrastructure.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for women-owned businesses. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/information.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart firms. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying 3-5% more on services/products from pre-qualified first- and second-tier suppliers.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas where the company can promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • If a selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Conduct assessment of local economy and create opportunities to leverage women’s participation in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • Engage women as micro-entrepreneurs or sales agents for the distribution company itself, e.g. distributing pre-pay power cards door-to-door or in village kiosks. Leveraging women’s skills in communication can raise awareness on the risks of “tapping” electricity, and reduce ATC+C (average technical commercial and collection) losses for the utility.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Know Your [Female] Customer

      • Tailor marketing messages, payment methods, and promotions to meet the needs of women (and men), addressing the different ways in which women and men use, or could benefit from using on-grid electricity.
      • Collect and analyze sex-disaggregated data on typical end-users of various energy products and services in order to deliver effectively to consumers of residential, commercial and industrial power. Encouraging homes to “make the switch” requires an understanding of differentiated needs and interests of women and men energy users. For example, women may be attracted to the household or commercial benefits if they have children who need to study in the evenings, or run a small business from the home.
      • Include the perspectives and feedback of women (employees and consumers) in the design of gender-specific products and services, such configuration of bill-pay vs. pre-pay units, or installation of mid-size solar panels in the community.
      • Where relevant, specifically market products/services to female customers to capitalize on women’s purchasing power. For example, leverage female sales agents to market pre-pay electricity cards to savings groups and other women’s networks, also raising awareness on the risks of “tapping” electricity. Safe energy alternatives keeps families out of harm’s way and reduces ATC+C (average technical commercial and collection) losses for the utility.
      • In compliance with national regulation, create payment plans and costing structures to make electricity accessible to low-income, often female-headed, households (e.g., offer small, pre-pay units at affordable prices). Work with bill-pay customers who miss payments to create a more feasible payment plan.
      • Ensure external commmunications materials and marketing messages appeal to both male and female customers. Research gender norms to understand how to best communicate to women and men consumers, and adapt in different contexts. Revise external communications and marketing to contain gender neutral and/or gender equitable language and photos. Ensure customer depictions in advertising materials reflect the full range of customer diversity.
      • In areas where it is not considered acceptable for a man to be in a woman’s home without her husband / other family members present, dispatch women employees (e.g., as collection agents, lineworkers, and technicians) for residential maintenance requests.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Young Women in STEM

      Invest in girls and young women to ensure a sustainable pipeline of future STEM talent:

      • Support younger girls’ exposure to and education in STEM-related subjects, e.g. through school visits, “bring your daughter to work day” and/or reserving internships for female students.
      • Conduct awareness campaigns with schools and universities on STEM jobs and opportunities for women.
      • Reserve internships and provide matching services for female STEM students.
       

      Advocacy for Gender Equity in Power

      Advocate and contribute to thought leadership:

      • Write articles, join coalitions and/or speak in public forums about how gender equity is related to power and electricity.
      • Conduct social marketing campaigns or public service announcements as part of advertising so families understand the importance of “getting on the grid” for their safety, as well as the benefits of consistent energy access for women and girls.
      • Advocate for gender-inclusive energy regulation, including income-based tariffs and incentives, and collection of gender-disaggregated data to understand the impacts of energy policy.

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