In North Macedonia, the Future is Female

Speeches Shim

How a Power Utility is Opening Doors for Girls and Women

Nearly forty percent of EVN’s employees are male technicians, many nearing retirement. With a limited national talent pool, EVN began building the next generation of STEM professionals, starting with girls.

EVN felt a responsibility to combat cultural biases against girls and women in the energy sector, and embarked on a mission to inspire girls to pursue vocational education and training and start a career in a growing industry. With support from USAID’s Engendering Utilities program, EVN began designing outreach campaigns targeting girls in primary schools across Skopje. Female staff from EVN visited schools, discussed opportunities for women at the company, encouraged girls to think about jobs in the power sector, and reiterated a strong and clear message: girls and women make great engineers and technicians. The impact of their outreach was encouraging, and started shifting the perceptions of both parents and students.

The utility complemented its external outreach with internal outreach efforts, seeking to shift staff attitudes about women and girls. In 2016 EVN held its first Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Over the course of the day, girls performed technical tasks alongside their parents, and sat side-by-side listening to talks about the important role women play in the company, and the even greater role they could play in the future of the power sector. The utility also created an internship program, providing STEM and vocational students with the opportunity to gain work experience while discovering if a career in energy is right for them. The utility collaborates with technical universities to organize workshops and market internship opportunities. Over 60 percent of the interns at EVN to date have been female.

USAID’s Engendering Utilities program works with organizations in male-dominated industries to increase economic opportunities for women, improve gender equality, boost business performance, and strengthen economies. Through a customized best practices framework, demand-driven coaching, and a Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, Engendering Utilities builds the capacity of leaders to implement gender equality interventions that increase the professional participation of women and meet their core business goals.

Launched in 2015, the Engendering Utilities program demonstrates USAID’s commitment to promote a path to self-reliance and resilience in developing countries by fostering enterprise-driven innovation, inclusive economic growth, and gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Engendering Utilities is a key activity under the U.S. Government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which aims to reach 50 million women by 2025 through innovative and effective programs.

Friday, October 9, 2020 - 1:00pm