Context and Initiative
Energy is a crucial component to nearly all challenges and opportunities facing the world today, including the fight against climate change and the enabling of important rights, such as education, health and work. But energy is not gender- neutral: energy policies often have great impacts in terms of equality, since society attributes differentiated roles to women and men, which condition their relationship to energy. Mexico’s male-dominated energy sector is undergoing important changes in the context of the energy reform. Thus, it is an important opportunity to bring a gender perspective into the sector, and to ensure that the opening of new markets related to sustainable energy (SE) contributes to closing the gender gap instead of widening it. With this in mind, GIZ Sustainable Energy Program (PES) drafted a gender & energy analysis, which highlighted key challenges and served as a starting point for our gender-mainstreaming strategy.
Gender – A Quality Feature of Our Work
Women and girls are eager to have a more decisive role in the energy sector and were excited to take part in these initiatives. It’s worthwhile mentioning that we work closely with the Energy Ministry, and that organizations with great reach in the region, such as USAID, OLADE and IUCN are interested in replicating these activities.
This strategy includes:
1. A massive awareness-raising campaign about energy efficiency (EE) with a gender perspective: In order to reach the low income sector, GIZ-PES partnered in a PPP scheme with Grupo Salinas (GS): A large group of companies that spans across many sectors, including mass media and appliances retail. This gender-sensitive initiative included 19 fairs reaching 7.000 people, the development of a best practices guide (7.000 copies distributed), online-courses (passed by 48.000 people), and a mass-media campaign reaching 13.000.000 people.
2. Supporting women’s vocational training for SE occupations: Since the energy reform requires 135.000 experts on SE, new opportunities should be created for the inclusion of women. Pilot courses were offered in two different subjects: installation of solar water heaters (SWH) and energy advisory. In order to ensure quality, all materials were gendermainstreamed, gender workshops were offered for both trainers and trainees, and scholarships were put in place to encourage women’s enrollment.
3. Developing a financial scheme for SWHs targeting women: A tailormade financial product to enable women to acquire SHWs was created for PROMUJER, a development organization providing financial services to low-income women willing to grow small businesses.
This strategy was designed with sustainability in mind, and it continues to yield impacts: The online-courses developed within the PPP are now mandatory for all new employees at GS; the vocational training courses are included in the permanent offer of an institution committed to supporting female students with reduced tariffs; and the financial scheme for SWHs is now part of PROMUJER’s portfolio.
Recent News from the Project:
One of PES training institutions “CENCER“, which is part of the “Solar Women” project and committed to supporting female students with reduced tariffs, recently received a young woman and mother of a 6 months old child as a student in Photovoltaic Installation. The student had no other option but to bring her 6 months old child along with her to the training center. Supported by CENCERs staff and her male classmates the female student was able to successfully accomplish her evaluation and certification process. This unique experience also has the potential to grow in size as to reach more beneficiaries. Therefore CENCER could be the first 100% Mexican training center equipped and prepared to receive students and their children in order to increase the opportunity for young women and mothers to participate in the trainings.