Raising the gender empowerment ambitions of PIDG’s investments
By Joe Shamash, Impacts Manager, PIDG and Vidya Naidu, Gender, Disability & Inclusion Portfolio Manager, ICED
Over the past couple of years, we have been looking for ways to enhance PIDG’s contribution to gender equality and empowerment. We aren’t alone in this – it is an increasingly important area for investors and governments. The momentum around gender-lens investing has offered up plenty of opportunities for us to learn and partner with others.
In partnership with the Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development programme (ICED), we are excited to share our new approach for selecting and managing infrastructure investments for better gender impacts. This approach is formulated around a Gender Ambition Framework, created by gender planning and development expert Caroline Moser and ICED.
We are planning to use the framework in two ways:
- Firstly, at a portfolio level, we will categorise new projects based on their gender empowerment ambitions, to monitor how much we are doing and where.
- Secondly, we will identify ways to take our projects up a level where there are opportunities to do so, from ‘doing the minimum’ to offering greater opportunities for empowerment, for example, through changes in the way local communities are consulted, or in the way that infrastructure services are delivered to households and businesses.
We currently have a summary Gender Ambition Framework for PIDG projects. ICED is also producing more detailed gender guidance for the agri-infrastructure and power sectors, which we will share, along with a first analysis of PIDG’s portfolio this year.
These are intended to be ‘live’ documents that are adapted as we learn more. We have learned some initial lessons already.
Our projects have varying levels of influence on gender inclusion, and we need to be very clear about these in-order to focus our efforts effectively. The sectors and sometimes economies in which we work are also fast-changing, bringing in different types of opportunities and challenges. Gender equality outcomes for grid tied energy generation, for example, are largely dependent on government policy.
In projects like this, investors and project developers can help improve community consultations and support better employment outcomes for women, through good diversity and inclusion standards in the workplace. But changes in the way women access electricity as customers is usually driven by policies on tariff levels and connection services managed by government agencies. In projects that have a more direct relationship with end-users, for example decentralised grids or rural microgrids, the potential to tailor products and services to meet the needs of women and girls as service users is much greater.
Please get in touch if you have other lessons or insights to share or would like to collaborate with us.