In the Philippines, the penetration rate of household electrification is close to 90% which means that at least 3-million households remain unconnected. Among the electricity service providers, 120 are rural electric cooperatives (ECs). In this setting, the World Bank project “Philippines Renewable Energy Development will help increase renewable energy generation and strengthen private sector lending to ECs. In order to further increase outreach, there is a need for the ECs to better understand the market served, including its demographic. And this is where gender becomes relevant.
The World Bank and others have found that energy issues affect women and men differently, as men and women have different roles and responsibilities in households, markets, and their communities. The National Electrification Administration get this – very much. But the ECs are more reluctant to invest in gender informed research of their members and users. On February 4, 2016 a workshop was held in Tagaytay with the aim to explore the gender and social development aspects of EC distribution service. The event’s main objectives were to identify three ECs to serve as examples for case studies on gender and electricity distribution issues, and to introduce the methodology for feedback from stakeholders. Supported by the ASTAE gender and energy program, the workshop was organized in collaboration with National Electrification Administration (NEA) and brought together representatives from 12 ECs and the Department of Energy (DOE). The Philippines Commission on Women (PCW) expressed interest in contributing to the gender assessment work.
In the Philippines, several policies and regulations already exist for government agencies to recognize and integrate gender aspects in policy making and program design and implementation. In particular, all government agencies are required to formulate a Gender and Development (GAD) plan designed to address gender issues, which is integrated in their regular activities and represents a specific portion of their budgets. Both DOE and NEA have been actively involved in integrating gender aspect in their energy programs, while the PCW is the coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns and policy-making. The DOE gender and development strategic framework was established to promote the twin goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment. A number of gender related training activities were organized by NEA for ECs. Moreover, a gender toolkit for the energy sector was launched in 2015 by DOE to raise the awareness of gender concerns and highlight the response.
Nevertheless, no systematic gender assessment has been done on ECs. While the benefits of energy access and improved services to women have been widely studied, it remains unclear if there are any gender related issue impacting the distribution services at individual EC level. It is envisioned that the gender assessment work will contribute to a deeper understanding of gender dimensions in the operations and service delivery of ECs.
Based on the discussions, the main drivers for ECs to conduct gender assessment include:
- Improving corporate policy related to gender equity
- Improving operations productivity
- Better corporate image and reputation
- Synergies with Corporate Social Responsibility programs
- Meeting mandates on gender integration
By the end of the workshop, it was agreed that the teams would support the preparation and piloting of 4 market studies and gender action plans to be completed in CY2016 in time for the initial startup of the project. In addition to the work in the Philippines, the ASTAE East Asia and Pacific Gender and Energy Facility is for example providing technical support to hydropower projects in Vietnam and Solomon Islands; supporting analytical work on the clean cooking program in Indonesia; preparing a knowledge note on monitoring electricity access to female headed households; and providing support to the Vietnam National Energy Company in implementing their corporate gender strategy.
- Electric Cooperative's Gender Assessment Workshop
- National Electrification Administration: 2015 GAD Accomplishment
- National Electrification Administration: Gender and Development
Learn more about the ESMAP's activies in Gender and Social Inclusion in the Energy Sector.