Public institutions in the energy sector can play a key role in promoting gender equality in society. Utilities in other parts of the world have shown that including more women in the workforce has a positive impact on productivity and results.
The participation of women in the labor market and the closing of gender gaps within companies mean that public services in the electricity sector can, among multiple benefits, increase operational efficiency that, ultimately, will bring greater economic value to utility companies.
Through the gender approach, more just and equitable labor relations can be developed, since it allows the identification of inequalities and power relations, which helps to make better decisions that generate development spaces for all the employees of the institutions. For this reason, the National Electricity Administration (ANDE) is determined to become an exemplary Paraguayan entity in gender equality.
ANDE, the company in charge of providing electricity service throughout Paraguay, like the global average of electricity companies, has a female participation in its workforce of only 20%. At the occupational level, only 5% are in operational areas, 7% in technical areas, while the majority work in professional (29%) and administrative (46%) functions.
Programs to retain and promote female talent
Recently, ANDE has been developing labor flexibility programs to retain, attract and promote female talent in the organization. In addition, it decided to advance in the development of a preliminary gender analysis, from which it was detected that there were more opportunities to improve equity.
Based on the results, ANDE decided to carry out a diagnosis to identify gaps and opportunities, in order to promote a more inclusive organizational culture. The diagnosis consisted of the application of surveys, interviews with focus groups, as well as the review of internal documents, which served as the basis for identifying possible actions to close gender gaps.
Once the main areas of intervention had been identified and the changes needed to promote a more inclusive organizational culture and improve the perception of opportunities, leadership commitment and flexibility of the women who work at ANDE, the development of a strategy for gender and an action plan.
Some of the measures that will be incorporated as part of the Gender Action Plan are: promoting more women from the institution to reach leadership positions, and strengthening and making visible the efforts being made by the organization’s leaders to promote an inclusive culture.
A sustainable and change-oriented action plan
The institution created a Gender Committee that is working on the company’s Gender Policy and Action Plan. Additionally, awareness-raising activities on unconscious biases are being developed for the institution’s executives and the Gender Committee.
The main themes of the Gender Action Plan are: (i) prevent workplace sexual harassment and avoid the normalization of this type of conduct; (ii) retain, promote and develop female talent, and promote the growth of women through gender goals in masculinized areas and first levels; (iii) internally promote the gender approach from human management, by contextualizing merit systems, reviewing the design of profiles by areas and levels, and eradicating gender stereotypes and mitigating unconscious biases; and (iv) promote a work-life balance.
The Gender Committee has already begun activities aimed at organizational change, which will allow gender equity to be sustainable in the organization and to permeate the energy sector in Paraguay and throughout society. The start of the awareness program and communication activities on the value of gender equity are causing a systematic change that goes beyond the specific actions carried out and those that will continue to be implemented as part of the Gender Action Plan.