Member Spotlight: “Engendering Utilities” for Gender Equality in Male-Dominated Industries

March 10, 2021 | By Tetra Tech

“Engendering Utilities” for Gender Equality in Male-Dominated Industries 

Globally, basic service delivery industries—such as electricity and water—remain male-dominated. In developing countries, these sectors are key drivers of economic growth and enable improvements in public health, education, and commerce. Underrepresentation of women in such industries is not simply an issue of fairness, it’s a missed economic opportunity.

This month, USAID’s Engendering Utilities program released a revamped version of its internationally recognized Delivering Gender Equality: A Best Practices Framework for Male-Dominated Industries. This resource provides organizations with evidence-based information and practical resources to advance gender equality in the workplace. Using each phase of the employee life cycle, the Best Practices Framework highlights a concrete set of actions organizations can take to advance gender equality.

The revised Best Practices Framework features hundreds of new resources and two new chapters on intersectionality, diversity, inclusion; and gender equality during times of crisis, with an overview of why this matters and how to use the framework to address these issues. Spanish and French versions are forthcoming.  

Rajni and Shweta, technicians at Tata Power-DDL in India, are helping the company break the stereotype that technical fields are more suited for men. (Photo: Tata Power-DDL)

Launched in 2015 and implemented by Tetra Tech, Engendering Utilities supports 29 organizations across 21 countries to increase gender equality in male-dominated industries, including the energy and water sectors. The Best Practices Framework is coupled with demand-driven change management coaching by dedicated gender-equality experts and a 12-month Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program developed and delivered in partnership with Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

Female and male employees of Vietnam Electricity, the largest electric utility in Vietnam, lay power lines in Thai Nguyen Province, Vietnam (Photo: Pham Hong Long / Thai Nguyen Power Company)

Program Impact since 2017:

  • 1,115 Women hired by partner organizations through 44 recruitment and hiring initiatives; 7 percent into leadership roles and 22 percent into technical roles
  • 995 Women promoted; 28 percent into leadership roles and 29 percent into technical roles
  • 6,105 Female employees trained at partner organizations on technical and soft skills to advance their careers
  • 2,066 Female students and job seekers reached through 52 school outreach and recruitment events
  • 443 Gender Equality Best Practices implemented across the employee life cycle
  • 57 Policies related to gender equality created at partner organizations
  • 11 Partner organizations directly attribute coaching efforts to increased employee retention


USAID’s Engendering Utilities program is implemented by Tetra Tech via the Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) project and the Workplace Advancement for Gender Equality (WAGE) initiative.

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