Gender & Energy Projects

In many developing countries, the lack of access to reliable, affordable and high quality energy infrastructure is recognized as one of the major factors impeding overall socio-economic development and economic growth, employment and entrepreneurship. This deficit is likely to affect females disproportionately because of traditional roles and household responsibilities. Consequently, investment in high quality energy services has a high potential to improve the life of women and girls. Reduced time spent on collecting firewood or cooking allows them, for example, to use their time more productively on education or income-generating activities. The inclusion of gender-specific requirements in an energy project can also provide employment and income creation opportunities by increasing the number of women who work in the energy sector, own businesses related to the energy sector or act as partners in public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives. 

Integrating Gender Across the PPP Project Cycle

Multinational Development Banks (MDBs) as well as bilateral and national development banks and many other leading development organizations have a growing commitment to finance and support infrastructure projects and programs that incorporate gender considerations. They have developed a number of guidelines, practical tools, policies, and manuals that are based on best practice and aim to facilitate a gender-inclusive approach. Key recommendations for integrating gender considerations in infrastructure projects and programs are the following:

1. Analyze gender aspects during the preparation and appraisal stage, e.g. by collecting sex-disaggregated data, including women and men at an early stage in the community-wide consultations and by incorporating gender aspects into the various analyses and assessments;

2. Translate the results into the design of projects and programs, e.g. by designing gender-responsive policies, bidding documents and contracts;

3. Utilize meaningful performance indicators to monitor and evaluate actions designed to narrow gender gaps.

Following this approach gender commitments are increasingly integrated into PPP Legal and Regulatory Frameworks as well as across the PPP project cycle of individual PPP projects. Read more.

Key Topics Across Infrastructure Sectors

Click here to find out more about:

  • Strengthen Engagement of Women in PPPs
  • Target Women as Consumers, Beneficiaries, and Users of Services,
  • Improve Safety and Prevent Gender-Based Violence
  • Integrate Women-Owned Businesses in the Supply Chain
  • Promote Female Employment and Corporate Leadership

Sector-Specific Legislation, Policies, Guidelines, Strategies

Lao PDR Policy Guidelines for the Implementation of Policy on Sustainable Hydropower Development contain gender-responsive resettlement provision (Article 5.8). In order to safeguard the statutory interests of the project affected people due to resettlement and compensation cases, the hydropower project developer shall provide various reports, assessments and plans, including a gender development plan before the construction and implementation of the project to ensure that any potential negative impacts to the people and other social related impacts are mitigated. The right of all project-affected people to sustainable livelihood options and services at least at the level previously enjoyed will be recognized, and achieved through the implementation of the social management and monitoring plan. The plan will consider distributional effects of development activities and the participation of vulnerable groups, including women and ethnic minorities.

Uganda - Renewable Energy Policy

Sector-Specific Project Documents

Solomon Islands

  • Tina River Hydropower Development Project -  The main aim of the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP) is to increase the generation of renewable energy, cut power costs and to move away from the reliance of imported diesel for power. To achieve this, a 15-megawatt hydropower plant will be developed on the Tina River, just outside the capital Honiara. The private partner will design, build, own, operate, and manage the hydropower facility through a build-operate-own-transfer scheme. 

    Being the first PPP project for the Solomon Islands it required careful coordination of the interests of many stakeholders, including land owners and local community members. The Community Benefit Sharing Program (CBSP) was designed to enhance the positive impacts of the project to the communities in the project area by promoting investment in basic services and infrastructure for the local communities and fostering support and cooperation by the communities towards the success of the project. The Water Supply and Sanitation Subcomponent is designed to fund community investments in water supply and electricity infrastructure as preliminary benefits to the communities before the hydropower operation actually starts generating benefit sharing revenues. It includes a Rural Electricity Program. The Human Resource Component of the CBSP aims to support the members of communities in the project area in accessing employment opportunities to be created by TRHDP during and after construction. A Gender Action Plan (GAP) has been prepared in support of the project. The GAP aims to help ensure that women will have equitable access to project benefits and equitable voice in project-related activities.

    The project is described in detail on a website published by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification.  Among the project-related documents published on the site are the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (2019), the Land Acquisition and Livelihood Restoration Plan (2017), the Gender Action Plan (2017), and the Community Benefit Share Plan (2017), as well as the Community Development Plan (2017). 


  • Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric power project: The project is governed by a concession agreement that sets out, among other things, social safeguards to mitigate the potential negative social impacts of the project including gender-specific actions to guarantee increased gender equity and expanded opportunities for women and girls, e.g. land titles are issued jointly to husband and wife (Concession Agreement, Schedule 4, Part 1, Social and Resettlement Component). See also summary of the concession agreement.


Sector-Specific Tools

The extent to and way in which gender could be mainstreamed into the design and implementation of an infrastructure project depend at least to some degree on the specific infrastructure sector. Listed below are guidance materials, toolkits and other online resources that were developed by international organizations, national governments and non-government organizations to mainstream gender into energy projects:

  • Getting to Gender Equality in Energy Infrastructure: Lessons from Electricity Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Projects Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) Technical Report, no. 012/18, World Bank Group 2018 - The report examines the social and gender footprint of large-scale electricity generation, transmission, and distribution projects to establish a foundation on which further research and replication of good practices can be built.

  • Gender and Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Hydroelectric Energy, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) November 2014 - This publication focuses on how to incorporate a gender perspective in operations that support the construction, operation and maintenance of medium- and large-scale renewable wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric energy installations connected to the grid for purposes of power generation. It includes a section on rural energy that is applicable to small installations and mini-grids, or to exceptional cases where medium- and large-scale facilities provide electricity to a community.
  • Integrating Gender Considerations into Energy Operations (Intégrer la dimension du genre dans les projets du secteur de l’énergie) World Bank, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) 2013 (English and French) - This briefing note discusses the key elements of the gender-energy topic and provides specific examples of how to integrate gender considerations in energy policy dialogue and the project cycle. It draws on recent experience within the World Bank and elsewhere in mainstreaming gender in energy projects, and looks at three key areas: assessment, action, and monitoring and evaluation. This note is complemented by an online compendium of gender resources.
  • Gender Toolkit: Energy Going Beyond the Meter, Asian Development Bank (ADB) September 2012 - This toolkit aims to assist staff and consultants of the ADB in conceptualizing and designing gender-responsive projects in the energy sector. It guides users in key questions to be asked and data to be collected during project preparation and offers a menu of entry points in designing project outputs, activities, inputs, indicators, and targets that integrate key gender issues identified during the gender analysis. The toolkit is broken down into key subsectors - transmission and distribution, rural electrification, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Case studies from ADB energy projects have been included to illustrate good practices in mainstreaming gender in energy sector.
  • Gender Impacts of GPOBA Pilot Projects, Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) June 2011 -This note presents a summary of the expected gender impacts of output-based aid (OBA) projects by sector (water and sanitation, energy, health, information and communication technology (ICT), an overview of how gender impacts are estimated in the ongoing impact evaluations, and a list of the gender outcomes and impacts that are explicitly acknowledged in other OBA pilot projects.
  • Mainstreaming Gender in Energy Projects – A Practical Handbook, ENERGIA 2011 - This Handbook seeks to provide guidance, practical tools and examples for energy projects that show how to undertake gender mainstreaming systematically. It draws on the experience with coaching energy projects in specific African and Asian countries and includes examples of good practice. ENERGIA provides links to many other training materials, resource packs and publications, including a free online course.
  • Energy, Gender and Development – What are the Linkages? Where is the Evidence? Gunnar Köhlin, Erin O. Sills Subhrendu, K. Pattanayak and Christopher Wilfong, Word Bank 2011 - This report reviews the literature on the links between energy access, welfare, and gender in order to provide evidence on where gender considerations in the energy sector matter and how they might be addressed.
  • Gender and Energy for Sustainable Development: A Toolkit and Resource Guide, joint publication by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ENERGIA 2004 - This toolkit outlines gender issues in energy projects, women’s energy needs, and lessons from project experiences and contains tips for addressing gender equality issues in project planning, sample project outlines, and annotated guides to further resources.
  • Gender: Social Inclusion in the Energy Sector - Online Resources - These resources have been developed by a number of organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), ENERGIA and the University of Twente, and are consolidated and published by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). They provide basic tools for mainstreaming gender considerations into energy sector activities. Included are sample questionnaires and checklists, examples of terms of references (TORs) and screening guidance, which can be downloaded.
  • Gender and Energy - Online space for gender and energy developed by the World Bank, the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Africa Renewable Energy Access Program (AFREA) that brings together practitioners from around the world to share experiences, emerging tools, available resources, and knowledge on Gender Equality and Energy through an interactive platform.
  • Gender - Social Inclusion in the Energy Sector -The World Bank’s ESMAP Social Inclusion and Gender Program is focused on building evidence and approaches on gender and energy. The program supports country level work through two regional programs in AFR and EAP as well as ongoing research in SAR and ECA. At the global level the program has developed a core training course on gender across energy topics and is producing a report focused on Gender and Electricity Infrastructure. To support teams, ESMAP has developed a developed a gender and energy library (link) – with all the recent publications and guidance.


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    Updated: February 16, 2022

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