Infrastructure that works for women: gender dimensions of energy and industry

Infrastructure that works for women: gender dimensions of energy and industry

NEW YORK CITY, 14 March 2019 - During the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women taking place at UN Headquarters, UNIDO hosted a side-event: “Infrastructure that works for women: Gender dimensions of energy and industry”, in conjunction with the Permanent Missions of Finland, Grenada, and Viet Nam, the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network and UN Women.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, urged the audience to increase efforts to mainstream gender in the industry and energy sector.

In her keynote address, Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London, emphasized governments’ responsibility to consider a mission-oriented approach to structural transformation and sustainable and inclusive industrial development where gender equality and the green dimension are used as lens to tackle challenges across all sectors.

During the event, UNIDO's Managing Directo, Fatou Haidara, launched two papers addressing gender considerations in the industry and energy sectors. The first, Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development: The Gender Dimension, presents evidence of how industrial policies, sustainable infrastructure and access to social protection can support women in advancing beyond low-skilled and semi-skilled occupations with limited opportunities for promotion and career advancement. The second paper, developed in collaboration with UN Women and titled, “Gender Equality in the Sustainable Energy Transition,” provides key resources for practitioners in addressing gender considerations across the energy sector. Haidara detailed policy recommendations for targeting constraints, such as unpaid care work and limited access to the skills and productive assets, that prevent women from capitalizing on the full breadth of their abilities.  

The panel discussion elaborated further on how a gender-responsive lens can help the energy and industry sectors leapfrog traditional development patterns, while also positioning women at the forefront as producers, consumers, and entrepreneurs. Yalem Tsegaye Asfaw, Ethiopia's Minister for Women, Children and Youth, highlighted the need for physical and social infrastructure designed and implemented to address women’s needs, as applied in Ethiopia’s industrial parks.

Ambassador Keisha A. McGuire, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the UN and Chair of SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network addressed the reinforcing mechanism of not just the “He for She” movement but also “She for She,” emphasizing the positive effect of women employing women, as well as women's networks.

Ambassador Jorma Korhonen, Director-General in the Prime Minister of Finland Office, confirmed McGuire’s point by stressing the need for female role models, including as teachers in STEM.

Monica Maduekwe, Programme Coordinator for ECOWAS Programme on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access, called for local, national and regional governments to make long-term policies and strategies that train women to access and contribute to the sustainable energy market.

In conclusion, there was agreement that for infrastructure to work for women, it is essential that they be included as consumers and producers in both industry and energy as these sectors move forward.  

For more information, contact:

Hedda Femundsenden, UNIDO Gender Coordinator