Women’s Employment in Energy Sector Utilities Toolkit

This Women’s Employment in Energy Sector Utilities Toolkit is A "one-stop shop" for advice and resources on how to bolster women's employment in energy utilities. It contains links to free, publicly available tools and resources aimed at addressing the barriers identified in the Stepping Up Women’s STEM Careers reports. The toolkit contains four modules, each thematically focused. The first module addresses setting up a data-driven program and strategy with achievable targets; modules 2-4 focus on overcoming barriers to increased women’s employment according to the stage of a woman’s career.

The four modules are:

  1. Making the Commitment to Gender Equality
  2. Attracting and Recruiting Women
  3. Creating a Supportive Work Environment
  4. Advancing Women in the Company


Making the Commitment and Setting Targets

Most World Bank projects seeking to increase women’s employment in energy utilities select one or more targeted activities they can incorporate into much larger energy-sector loans. The potential success of these gender activities will be greatly enhanced if they are selected based on data, have senior management support, and fit into a broader utility gender or DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) framework. Having such a framework in place helps ensure that gender efforts and knowledge become institutionalized, and that gains made during the project do not disappear once the project focus and funding ends.

Module 1 contains resources that will help a utility start its journey to reduce gender disparities in its workforce. These resources will help utilities understand the confluence of factors that influence equitable employment and thereby identify a path forward.


Recruiting Women to the Energy Workforce

Institutions in traditionally male-dominated sectors like energy may face multiple challenges increasing the number of women staff due to ingrained biases in their hiring processes, negative public perceptions of the sector as an appropriate place for women to work, and lack of women’s awareness of energy careers and job opportunities. Utilities will need a plan to overcome these obstacles. Module 2 provides resources on how to improve a utility’s ability to recruit and hire women candidates. By clicking on the relevant section and/or sub-topic in the table below, you’ll find corresponding resources and tools.


Tools for Retaining Women in the Electric Utility Workforce

These resources focus on retaining women in the workforce by addressing topics related to workplace culture and environment. Numerous studies show that women enter male-dominated STEM sectors like energy at lower rates than men, especially in technical positions, and many of them leave due to challenges with work-life balance, harassment, and discrimination . However, research has also shown that efforts by employers to address such issues and improve workplace culture can have a positive impact on a firm’s ability to attract, hire and retain employees.


Advancing Women in the Company

Numerous studies show that companies with gender-diverse boards and leaders are more profitable and more resilient than those lacking diversity . Yet women are under-represented in leadership and management positions in most utilities , due to lack of women in STEM fields, entrenched processes for promotion and succession planning that favor the status quo, cultural norms that inhibit women’s participation and advancement, and care-giving constraints.


Contact: Nathyeli Acuna Castillo ( esmap@worldbank.org )