The publication of Secretariat's declaration on gender equality officially endorsed the initiative in March 2021. Signed by its director, the declaration spells out three commitments:
- Raising awareness on mainstreaming gender in all aspects of energy policies and interventions when providing support and assistance to the institutions of the Energy Community and the Contracting Parties.
- Endorsing gender-responsive procurement, intended as the inclusion of the impact on gender equality and women’s empowerment in its procedures for the procurement of services and works.
- Aiming for equal representation of women and men in all events, in-person or online, and that no gender is restricted to the moderator or facilitator role.
The information below shows how the Secretariat translates the three commitments into concrete actions and activities.
International Gender Champions
March 2021: International Gender Champions
To mark the international women’s day on 8 March, and to affirm the commitment to gender equality, Mr Janez Kopač, the Secretariat's former Director, joined the “International Gender Champions”, a leadership network that brings together decision-makers determined to break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence.
First Conference on Gender Equality
April 2021: First Conference on Gender Equality
To raise awareness on gender among our institutions, partners and Contracting Parties, the Secretariat hosted a conference “Energy Transition through the Lens of Gender Equality” on April 27, bringing together more than 130 participants, including decision-makers, energy professionals and academics. With an aim to discuss gender mainstreaming in the energy sector, the conference identified the different impacts that the use of energy has on women and men, but also provided examples of integrating a gender perspective in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, regulatory measures and spending programmes, broadening perceptions and combatting discrimination.
The event examined the barriers, inequalities, biases and challenges women face in the green energy sector, that, unless addressed systematically, will persist also in the energy transition. Beyond entry barriers, the lack of a flexible working environment, mentoring and self-confidence hinders women from growing professionally and unlocking their full potential while also balancing work and family. It also looked at how energy poverty takes a significant toll on women, often heading households as caregivers or living alone at a pensionable age and how gender is therefore a risk factor. Without modern energy services, rural women spend long hours performing basic subsistence tasks which limits their options for educational, social and political interaction outside the household.
Gender and Energy Compact
The event was chaired by Ms Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chair of The Elders.
Launched initially at the UN High level dialogue on energy, the coalition of 45 organisations brings together governments, private sector, academia, civil society, youth, and international organizations to promote a just, inclusive, and gender responsive energy transition. With its work, the coalition addresses the following areas:
- Energy and time poverty, as well as drudgery of women are eliminated by increasing women’s access to and control over sustainable energy products and services.
- Countries and regions (re)formulate and adopt more inclusive and gender-responsive energy access and transition pathways, strategies and policies.
- Women-owned and -led businesses have increased access to productive resources, such as finance, sustainable energy, entrepreneurial capacity and business development services.
- Career advancement avenues for women working in the energy sector are created: women enjoy decent and productive employment; workplace policies and practices support recruitment and retainment of women, women are equally involved in policy- and decision-making.
- Knowledge, mechanisms, tools, and sex-disaggregated data are more available and of higher-quality.
Study on energy poverty
December 2021: Study on energy poverty
The nexus between gender and energy poverty is an important aspects we are currently investigating at Energy Community level, also within a newly published study which includes a specific chapter on gender. It is important to apply a gender perspective to energy poverty, since women and men experience energy poverty in different ways and the physiological, health, economic and social situation of women put them and their households at higher risk of energy poverty.
The Energy Community Secretariat also enforces gender equality through gender-responsive procurement. When the subject of the contract allows, we seek to collaborate with suppliers who give importance to gender equality in their work and put in place relevant policies. To the extent possible, the Secretariat also request gender balanced teams for the execution of contracts. Moreover, gender equality is considered when it comes to evaluations of offers.
First staff training
In order to understand and implement gender parity pledge for events and conferences, the entire Energy Community Secretariat staff had a training on the topic on 10 September 2021. The training was carried out by Nicolas Schmidt, Gender Associate and International Gender Champions Focal Point at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).