Gender equality matters in private sector development. Despite advancement in technology and regulatory environments, women remain underrepresented in infrastructure as employees, in senior management, the supply chains etc. The evidence is clear: enabling greater equality of opportunity for women and men in the infrastructure and natural resources sector can yield significant rewards. When gender equality efforts increase, it is not just companies that benefit but also women, families, communities, and countries as a whole.
Income lost by women in 2020. Mostly from pandemic-impacted informal sector jobs
Of the conventional energy workforce is female
Of board seats in the Top 500 mining companies are held by women
Of all care work is performed by women while in income-earning work & navigating safety concerns
Of women have reported sexual harassment in public transport & streets around the world
Of women have experienced either physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner
At IFC, the Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory team focuses on the advancement of social and economic opportunities for women and where possible, on gender minorities and other underserved people. We collaborate with infrastructure client companies to advance gender equality and create opportunities for women. This involves supporting women as leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs throughout the supply chain. Additionally, we assist them in adopting gender-smart solutions, such as providing childcare support for working parents, implementing family-friendly workplace policies, establishing respectful workplace frameworks, and achieving gender equality certifications. We also codify lessons learned and prior experiences into tools, briefs, case studies, and other knowledge and communications assets to promote client work and IFC thought leadership.
Companies that recognize the importance of a more diverse workforce have reported positive business rewards: stronger supply chain networks, improved community/customer engagements, increased productivity, cost reductions, better customer satisfaction, and strengthened social license to operate. This is why gender-smart infrastructure is a smart thing to do for businesses.
As a partner in IFC’s Energy2Equal (E2E) peer-learning platform, Lekela Power made a public commitment to help close gender gaps and increase women’s participation in the renewable energy sector. IFC’s SI Advisory team partnered with Lekela to help meet this commitment and conducted a gender assessment to collect and analyze sex-disaggregated data on Lekela’s workforce at various levels. Based on IFC’s recommendations, Lekela established a Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, conducted targeted recruitment of women for technical roles and began publishing data on gender performance in its Sustainability Report, among other efforts.
In 2021, IFC committed $31 million in financing to ASSA, a leading transportation and logistics service provider in Indonesia. Based on SI Advisory’s gender assessment, IFC partnered with Anteraja, ASSA’s express logistics subsidiary, to deliver a capacity-building program for MSMEs with a specific focus on women entrepreneurs. The program gave entrepreneurs access to business skills training, coaching/mentorship, and networking opportunities.
Sal de Vida represents IFC’s first investment in lithium mining and marks the first IFC loan for a greenfield mine development in Argentina. It introduces a distinctive strategy, integrating green use of proceeds with sustainability-linked financing features to enhance women’s access to employment. The initiative aims to increase the percentage of women in Sal de Vida’s workforce from 10% in 2022 to 26% by 2030. This involves a deliberate focus on women in community skills development programs and strategic partnerships with local government, vocational schools, universities, and other relevant partners to attract more women into technical roles.
The Azito Energie Thermal Power Plant located in Azito Village plays a crucial role by supplying 35 percent of Côte d’Ivoire’s energy needs. With the support of IFC’s SI Advisory, Azito Energie collaborated with the local community to establish more inclusive and accountable governance structures in anticipation of a planned $3 million community contribution from the company. As a result of this partnership, women and youth in Azito Village have gained access to formal channels for engaging in local governance and decision-making processes. They also have honed their business skills and established income-generating activities of their own.