38 Replies Latest reply: Nov 3, 2015 8:46 PM by pacy RSS

    JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation

    C4D Connoisseur

      Welcome to 'Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated during Construction and Operation' discussion thread. The featured experts are Josefina Posadas, Elena Bardasi, and Katherine Heller who will be providing their views and inputs throughout the week. Their bios are below and we look forward to engaging in discussion with you.

       

      Josefina Posadas | jposadas@worldbank.org

       

      Josefina is an Economist at the Gender and Development Group of the Poverty Reduction Network in the World Bank. She holds a Ph.D. from Boston University and has previously taught at the National University of La Plata (in Argentina) and worked at the Inter-American Development Bank. Her analytic training is in the field of labor economics, with work on female labor force participation, gender wage gap, entrepreneurship, and intra-household allocation of resources.

       

      Elena Bardasi | ebardasi@worldbank.org

       

      Elena is Senior Economist in the Gender Unit of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management network at the World Bank. Her current work focuses on female entrepreneurship and gender issues in the labor market. She has been writing and publishing on issues related to informal labor markets, time use, female employment, female entrepreneurship, wage differentials, and occupational segregation. She has contributed to The Africa Competitiveness Report and to several Investment Climate Assessments of Sub-Saharan African countries and has recently co-edited a special issue on Female Entrepreneurship in Small Business Economics. Prior to her current position, she was Senior Economist at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex (UK), working on issues of labor market dynamics, poverty dynamics, poverty in old age, and family policies in OECD countries. Bardasi earned her PhD in Economics from the European University Institute.

       

       

      Katherine Heller | kheller@worldbank.org

       

      Katherine Heller is a Social Development Specialist, focusing on the social and gender dimensions of energy and the extractive industries. Her experience in the sector spans Africa, Asia,  the South Pacific and the Caribbean, including Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago. Her expertise includes work on the gendered impacts of operations and benefit sharing, capacity building and local supply chain development, gender dimensions of rural energy, and participatory monitoring of the public and private sectors. She is an author and contributor to several publications on corporate-community interface in the extractives
      sector, and on gender and the extractive industries, including recent publications on the gender dimensions of artisanal and small-scale mining, and on gender dimensions of the oil and gas sectors.

        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
          C4D Enthusiast

          Hi all, this is Elena Bardasi --

          looking forward to an interesting debate about the opportunities and challanges  of women in construction!

          It would be great to hear about the participants' experiences in this respect.

            • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
              C4D Enthusiast

              Let me kick off.

              Male-dominated fields, such as construction and energy, are seen alternatively as 'challenging' for women but also providing opportunities - as the jobs in these sectors tend to pay more than typically female occupations. Can these jobs in large infrastructure projects actually benefit women? And - if we reverse the question - can these sectors benefit from the presence of women, can they benefit from more diversity? What is your experience?

                • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                  925404 C4D Enthusiast

                  Thanks Elena for kicking off this discussion!

                   

                  To help new participants put this into perspective - the reason we are launching this e-discussion is to help generate new discussions and gather information and ideas on the Gender Dimensions of Labor Impacts within Electricity Infrastructure.

                   

                  ESMAP together with the World Bank's Social Development team have jointly developed the ‘Gender and Electricity Infrastructure Development’ report which aims to expand knowledge regarding the positive and negative social impacts of energy infrastructure on gender (from generation to transmission and distribution) where these infrastructures are built. Some of these direct and indirect impacts happen during planning and construction process. Land value and price, resettlement expectations, dynamics of local labor markets are a few examples of the new changes during the planning process which may affect men and women differently. Furthermore, rehabilitating and expanding transmission and distribution networks is an important area of focus for the energy sector which has potential impacts. For instance, high voltage transmission lines can result in resettlement or restricted land use issues. However, these impacts have not been well documented and evidences are not solid. If these issues are not addressed during the project preparation and implementation, the expected impacts related to labor market and land could be more adverse on women than men due to lack of women’s land title, low labor force participation and, segregated low pay

                   

                  Therefore, it is our pleasure to invite you to join and enrich our discussion by sharing your experiences, emerging tools, available resources, and knowledge!

                  This thread is focused on - “Barriers and Risks for Women participation in Jobs generated during construction and operation”. We look forward to hearing from you and our featured experts, Elena, Katherine and Josefina!

                    • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                      1008514 C4D Explorer

                      Thank you Maria Beatriz and Vanessa for inviting me to participate in this e-discussion. Indeed, as Vanessa was pointing out in her introduction, gender
                      issues tend to be neglected during project preparation and implementation, partly due to the lack of awareness and robust evidence. In this way, if a project is not ready to be tweaked to address potential impacts on women, at least efforts should be made to collect information to evaluate them from a gender perspective. One question that we could ask is: do projects plan to collect sex-disaggregated information on jobs, characteristics of workers, and further job characteristics
                      to understand what are the barriers and risks women face during construction and operation?

                    • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                      1205886 C4D Enthusiast

                      Dear All.

                       

                      Thank you for starting the discussion. I am with the AFREA Gender and Energy program and provide teams with input on gender considerations in construction and operation of energy projects (e.g. transmission lines and gas pipelines etc.). Are there any particular best practice guidance resources
                      that you could recommend on jobs, safety, procurement etc. that we can reference that would be helpful for practitioners on the ground (e.g. project
                      implementation units, utilities). This would be very helpful. Thanks.

                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                          C4D Enthusiast

                          Thanks Inka - I (Katherine Heller, WB Social Dev't Specialist) would like to just add on to this; I work with the Bank's Energy and Extractives program, and we have developed a number of materials specifically around gender considerations in oil, gas, and mining projects. But if any participants out there have experience from their own companies (particularly energy, but extractives too!) about gender guidelines - or even gender policies - it would be great to hear a bit more about them. If you do have gender guidelines or policies, it would be really interesting if you know how these policies came to be? We work with many companies who are interested in developing gender guidelines - some because they have had incidents, particularly relating to safety, which have spurred them to want to have gender sensitivity policies in place; others who recognize the role that women can play in the communities in which the companies are operation - so it would be interesting to hear how gender guidelines and policies have developed among companies.

                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                          C4D Explorer

                          Hello everybody and thank you for this interesting discussion. I want to share our experience from a rapid review of some of the IDB large-infrastructure projects and how accessible they are for women’s workers. Preliminary results show heterogonous results. At this point, the issues seem more related to the specific sector and the local context than to the nature of the job itself, with some traditionally male-dominated sectors becoming more permeable to women than others. Thus, women represent a significant proportion of the labor force in the operation of some pulp mills IDB projects; while in other industries like solar plants gender barriers are still well in place. Change seems to be happening, but not at the same pace in all sectors. In this sense, it would be very useful to count with evidence-based successful stories and best practices that can be used as advocacy tools in projects and sectors more reluctant to gender equality.

                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                          C4D Explorer

                          Hi, I am chiming into this discussion from USAID. A quick disclaimer: I work on economic growth topics in general, and am no expert in energy markets. In the World Bank Gender groups' recent "Jobs and gender" report we saw that education does not account for the whole global gender gap in employment and wages, while segmentation into "feminine" occupations does explain more. So a lot of times practitioners conclude that we should try to encourage women and girls to enter previously male-dominated occupations (and usually simple awareness or recruitment campaigns into programs falls very far short of gender parity because these cultural norms take time to change). Yet, perhaps the more interesting question, besides the absolute average wage for those successfully employed in a given occupation at the present time, is the dynamic trend in employment opportunities on the margin. I was recently in Indonesia looking at labor market issues there, and found an interesting perspective from a World Bank paper (The Value of Vocational Education: High School Type and Labor Market Outcomes in Indonesia by David Newhouse and Daniel Suryadarma). In this paper they note that services and labor demand in that sector has grown faster in the new millennium than has industry, and hence women with vocational education in that sector also did better in the labor market (than did men who tended to choose technical vocations). In this case, if donors encouraged women and girls to enter technical occupations, they may not have been setting them up for better employment.

                            • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                              740631 C4D Connoisseur

                              Dear Colleagues,

                              Adding to Anastasia's great point on the rationale for women to not enter technical vocational careers, we also need to wonder about other job attributes such as hours, safety , and other conditions. Women's preferences may be different than men on these other atributes. However, it may not be preferences or future opportunities what are driving the observed occupational segregation by gender.  Social norms regarding certain occupations and gender roles may be in fact constraining women and men from matching their individual preferences and fully exploring future opportunities. We explored the role of gender norms in the  book On Norms and Agency  by Munoz Boudet et all (ISSUU - On Norms and Agency by World Bank Publications).  

                               

                              In the specific case of electricity infrastructure and concretely the case of large scale projects such as hydropower plants, there are new entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in services to construction workers and technical staff. These services include meal preparation, entertainment, laundry services, etc. Would men benefit from these new service jobs in some communities? Can infrastructure projects include components to promote equity in service procurement?

                                • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                  1008514 C4D Explorer

                                  As Maria Beatriz was pointing out, the multiplier effects of the male jobs created during the construction and operation of power plant can be strong, and can favor women whose employment is concentrated in services and sales, while men concentrate in manual labor. But also, some women might decide to leave the labor force as a result of the higher household income, which does not have to be seen as a negative effect. Similar multipliers effects appear in the mining sector. A recent paper by Andreas Kotsadam and Anja Tolonen (http://anjatolonen.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/african-mining-gender-and-local-employment.pdf) analyzes the spillovers effects of the employment generated by 874 mines since 1975 in SubSaharan Africa. The authors exploit the time and geographic variation to guide their identification strategy and they find that opening a mine triggers a structural shift, where women shift from agriculture work to the service sector or inactivity. The effect on services is more than 50% of the increase from the sample mean. A back-of-the-envelope calculation made by
                                  these authors indicates that more than 90,000 women get service sector jobs as a result of industrial mining in their communities, and more than 280,000 women leave the labor force.
                                  The effects of mine openings wear off with distance and are no longer statistically significant at 50 kilometers from a mine, and mine closing causes the service sector to contract. The paper shows that mine opening can pull people from low value added sectors to higher value added sectors, such as services and skilled manual labor. The authors conclude that mining has the power to stimulate nonagricultural sectors, and provide cash earning opportunities. However, mining creates a boom-bust economy on the local level in Africa, but with permanent effects of women’s labor market
                                  participation. It will be very intersting to replicate this work around the construction and operation of power plants.

                              • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                luzcaballero C4D Connoisseur

                                I would like to provide some experiences from the field.

                                15 years ago, I started working at the construction of the Gilgel Gibe I Hydroelectric Project (Omo River, in Ethiopia), which generates 184 MW, enough to power over 123,200 homes.

                                During the peak period of construction of the dam, the tunnel and the spillway there were 2,500 workers, most workers were men. Women benefitted from most jobs in the expatriates and local camps (cafeterias, or laundry and housing departments). Women worked in administration too, as assistants, but few, were working in the technical areas, where labor conditions are typically better (better salaries, better workplaces). Out of the 2,500 and doubt that the number of women reached 100.


                                The Joint Venture experienced problems trying to hire a trilingual/bilingual assistant to the director. Most bi/trilingual assistants found were women, but were not willing to relocate 5 kilometers south of Addis Abeba in an isolated camp. The JV offered better housing and access to a better cafeteria to the candidates and we were able to hire one. I think that first, companies need to provide adequate working conditions in order to attract women during the construction stage of large infrastructures.

                                  • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                    740631 C4D Connoisseur

                                    Great comment Luz. I fully agree. Safety in particular is a big issue for women and should not be so costly for companies to provide (depending on the context).

                                      • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                        C4D Enthusiast

                                        Thanks for this, Luz - this issue of safety is similarly also something we see in extractive industries projects as well, since, obviously, oil, gas, and mining sites are determined based on where the resources are - often in very remote areas.

                                         

                                        I think the issue touched on above, about the secondary jobs market is very important. In energy and in the extractives, often discussions of opportunities for women is limited to direct employment, in energy and extractives companies, but I think the reference to Anja Tolonen's work above, looking at the spillover effects of mines is very relevant here, for understanding the broading implications and opportunities for women around energy operations and construction. Large scale construction and operation may create a number of economic opportunities - although as mentioned above, it's important to consider the safety and other economic and social implications that this growth may have for men and women. In the extractives sector, we often find that men are best able to capitalize on the benefits of the sector, and women face more of the risks.

                                         

                                        Luz's project experience is super interesting; are there other participants with project experience to share on how construction/operation of energy projects are creating jobs or having other impacts on women?

                                          • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                            C4D Explorer

                                            Hi, I am Chhaya from Nepal - thank you for the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I would like to share some of my field experience from a hydropower plant project in Nepal where we recently did some qualitative research for Maria and Vanessa's WB team.This plant came into operation in 2002 so it was after some gap that we were assessing its impact. We found that women had received minimal employment opportunities and that too only as unskilled labor during the construction phase, a few had received opportunities as office cleaners etc during the operation phase. 

                                             

                                            There had been communication gaps during the design and preparation phase - actually there seems to be a marginalisation of local community, including women's, voices through the whole process of different studies and surveys. As a result there had been no analysis of what existing skills women had, what were the requirements during the construction and operation phase and how to enhance skills so that women could also benefit from the construction boom equally. The EIA is done but I feel it is a little late in the process and actually was not very gender responsive in this particular case.

                                             

                                            Additionally an enabling environment for women to establish and run micro-enterprises which would be a little long-term was not facilitated. In fact the electricity generated and distributed was of insufficient strength to even support electricity based businesses.

                                             

                                            Another point is about the loss of traditional occupation of ethnic groups - while this project tried to resettle and support the displaced group, a result of the dam construction has been that there are less fish now in the river. Women, who have formed cooperatives, shared that while there is market demand, they are unable to supply due to low availability of fish

                                              • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                C4D Explorer

                                                Hello everyone, I'd like to add to Luz's & Chhaya's point in from my experience in Nepal during qualitative research for Maria/Vanessa's Gender & Energy ESW. I visited various ongoing HV transmission line construction projects. One of the issues I saw there was a lack of systematic hiring for construction/site workers. In Nepal, local project/site managers send out scouts to go into nearby villages to advertise the job opportunity at which point interested people willing to travel/live at the site (generally men) receive an advance prior to showing up at the site for work - everything is quite ad-hoc and disorganized in terms of the hiring process for both men and women. Generally, the workers live in makeshift camps/shacks on-site and have basic food/water provided for.


                                                During my talks with the project/site managers  - they shrugged and said- we take whoever that wants to come, but we don't go really out of our way to hire or fulfill a quota for women. For higher level positions, the site manager noted that he had never seen a women project manager in his 20 years of working there - although he's been in touch with women EIA specialists from time to time.


                                                A common practice is to hire workers further from out of the immediate construction area, as the project manager noted that locals usually tend to cause problems/delays with strikes and demands. Although this is a rational decision by the project managers, it unfortunately adds another obstacle for women who may not be able to travel/live far from home for work. I'm not sure if there are similar tactics used other regions.

                                                  • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                    C4D Explorer

                                                    I would like to contribute to the discussion regarding the need for a

                                                    gender strategy and guidelines for this sector. I believe this is essential

                                                    and should not be restricted to only the work opportunities of the

                                                    construction and operation phase. I believe a gender strategy and

                                                    operational guideline is required to provide directives for addressing

                                                    gender issues from the very first step of issuing licenses - the license

                                                    application process and requirements need to be reviewed from a gender

                                                    lens. They need to be transformative and provide an environment where

                                                    women-led or managed consulting teams also get an equal opportunity.

                                                    Additionally they need to promote diverse teams and demand that  team

                                                    members be oriented on gender.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Similarly directives need to be set for all the different studies and

                                                    surveys (topographical, hydrological, geological and others) to consult

                                                    local women and men for their perspectives and knowledge. Without guidance

                                                    on what and how to address gender issues, all the different steps of energy

                                                    infrastructure planning including project design and cost estimation, will

                                                    be done without effective gender mainstreaming. This neglect also results

                                                    in fewer work opportunities for women in the whole process and lack of

                                                    their positioning as key partners for such a project.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    The strategy and guidelines need to be developed through a fully

                                                    participatory process. I would like to share my experience in developing

                                                    such a guideline for the mini-grid rural electrification program of

                                                    Government of Nepal. The main objective of the guidelines was to provide

                                                    guidance on integrating gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in all

                                                    aspects of mini-grid rural electrification policies, institutions and in

                                                    its project/program implementation. The specific objectives were to ensure

                                                    that a gender and social inclusion responsive approach was adopted in

                                                    mini-grid rural electrification component in order to improve access to

                                                    resources and benefits from rural energy projects for women, poor and the

                                                    excluded; ensure GESI issues were addressed in all interventions and to

                                                    institutionalize GESI in the project cycle. The guidelines, based on a GESI

                                                    review of existing status of women and the excluded in the rural energy

                                                    sector and review of policies, institutional arrangements, programs and

                                                    project steps, provided guidance for each level and each project step from

                                                    demand application to end use. This later became the basis for the gender

                                                    component of a new project on rural and renewable energy in Nepal.

                                                     

                                                    On Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM, Pranav Vaidya <

                                                      • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                        C4D Enthusiast

                                                        I also would add to this, in considering the importance of a gender strategy: our discussion has focused on gender in terms of jobs within industry, as well as on gender and jobs in the community, and how gender impacts are considered in ESIAs, etc. In my experience, it's often very different groups of people who are dealing with these issues - i.e. it's often a question of HR policies to look at quotas for women, etc, and it's community development teams that are dealing with the environmental, economic, and social impacts on men and women. I think a comprehensive gender strategy can be an important way to marry these threads - where a company makes a committment to gender equity - in its own operations and in its impacts - it will need to consider gender across the board, and a gender strategy may be the best way to address these two issues, which are otherwise often handled separately.

                                                    • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                      740631 C4D Connoisseur

                                                      Thanks so much Chhaya. Great points. I was struck by the lack of planning regarding electricity distribution to nearby communities. One would think that there is huge potential for small electricity  businesses in the area .  We have heard in our discussions at the World Bank that most electricity infrastructure projects focus on generation and it is technically quite hard to establish the distribution and electrification links. Maybe we need to approach these projects with a variety of instruments and sub projects (or simultaneous investment lending on rural electrification for instance) that incorporate gender considerations.

                                                    • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                      C4D Explorer

                                                      I have no experience in the field myself, but to me, energy projects can make life much easier for women, especially. Public transportation or access to energy (including prices) can have a huge impact on women's lifes. Just considering that the majority of housework, including care, is on womens, in order to combine labor and this housework, the access to transportation and energy is essential in reducing time on accesory tasks. Transportation to be able to move from home to their work places and be back at home soon enough. Furthermore energy, as electricity, electric light and  some kitchen devices (like washing machines) are essential to diminish the time devoted to housework by these women. These points might be abit aside the discussion but they mainstream gender

                                              • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                C4D Enthusiast

                                                I quickly read through yesterday's interesting discussion and I would like to offer my reactions. I am not an expert in energy and extractive industries and I look at these issues through the lens of a labor economist.

                                                 

                                                First, I would be interested in the participants clearly spelling out the specific rationale in developing a gender strategy for these sectors - what are your views and experiences, what are the main concerns? Traditionally, these male-dominated fields have been hard to penetrate for women -- for a variety of reasons -- but have been also sectors providing 'good jobs', especially for workers with low levels of education. In part, this is because these sectors tend to be more regulated than others, with stronger public presence and, often, stronger union presence. At the same time, working conditions are hard and challenging.
                                                Most participants have stressed the existence of an untapped potential represented by the spin-off activities, more conducive to female employment. 
                                                So, what is exactly the gender concern that a gender policy or action plan should address?
                                                1. promoting a change in norms (through sensitization, information, etc.), so that the sector can be more open to absorb women, especially in service occupations?
                                                2. focus on safety and working conditions (also) to facilitate women's entry?
                                                3. focus on the indirect effects, including relocation of families or split of families (when I worked on the Poverty Assessment of Lesotho, several years ago, the pattern we documented was of many de facto female-headed households because of the absence of men who were working in the South Africa mines)
                                                4. all of the above? or others I haven't listed?

                                                 

                                                So, what is it that characterizes exactly the energy sector jobs that is specific and needs to be addressed? What would be the counterfactual, especially for women? Is there an issue of opening up new opportunities, better opportunities, reducing harm? Are we interested in women as workers, or in women as family members of families involved in the sector? What are the most urgent issues to address?  (with reference to both to the analytical and, in particular, operational work.)

                                                  • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                    C4D Explorer

                                                    Hello everybody and thank you for let me join this interesting discussion, and specially Luz, who invited me to participate. For over 20 years I have worked in development programs focused on gender equality, particularly in Latin America and I share many of the opinions here mentioned.

                                                     

                                                    As Vanessa, Josefina and Chhaya Jha  have pointed out, I think it is crucial to conduct analysis and evaluation from a gender perspective prior and during design and implementation of activities. Those studies should be as comprehensive as possible in order to identify women´s needs and interests, as well as consider opportunities and barriers (safety issues, travel restrictions, traditional gender norms in some contexts, limited financial resources and decision-making power within households and communities, lack of required skills, etc.).

                                                     

                                                    Despite those difficulties, I agree electricity industry can provide lots of employment opportunities for women both through direct employment or secondary job market. In addition, taking into account that women are the fastest growing  group of entrepreneurs and business owners in developing countries and many of their enterprises tend to be energy and labor intensive, enabling them to access electricity that support their economic activity offers them important prospect for development.  Even household electrification has enabled some women to increase their productivity in home-based entrepreneurial work.  There are also some successful experiences of community-based micro-hydro power plants in rural areas managed by local women´s cooperatives.

                                                     

                                                    Regarding some of the questions raised by Elena, I would say that all of those issues should be addressed, but just focusing on the first of them, I think that beyond job opportunities for women it would be also interesting to break down some gender barriers. For instance, trying to facilitate the access of women in industries traditionally dominated by men. My experience in Bolivia, in a non-related sector, such as silversmiths, but traditionally occupied by men, was positive and also very complex. We had to work in different fronts: sensitization with women and their families and communities, partnerships with companies and training institutions, political advocacy, creating and leveraging women´s networks, developing innovative training tools…

                                                      • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                        C4D Explorer

                                                        I think the gender barriers are essential. Although some of these barriers are internal (imposed by these women to themselves), some others are societal, cultural or even legal. I am courious... do you know any country where the barriers for women to work in these specific sectors are legal?

                                                          • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                            C4D Explorer

                                                            Hello again everyone,

                                                             

                                                            Regarding Patricia Gabaldón´s question about legal restrictions for women to work in these sectors, it is very interesting this recent report “Women, Businesses and the Low 2014” by the World Bank (http://wbl.worldbank.org/~/media/FPDKM/WBL/Documents/Reports/2014/Women-Business-and-the-Law-2014-Key-Findings.pdf).

                                                             

                                                            Although much progress has been made in the last five decades all around the world in order to get rid of many of these legal obstacles, the law is still being used in many countries to hinder women´s access to employment, especially in Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. According to that report there are eight areas of work where women face partial or complete employment bans: mining, construction, metalwork, factory work, jobs requiring lifting objects above a certain weight, jobs considered too hazardous for women, jobs considered too arduous for women and jobs considered morally inappropriate for women. Sometimes the alleged reason given by policy makers for restricting women´s access to certain jobs is to protect them, in order to preserve their physical integrity and reproductive capacity, instead of investing in improving security or work conditions. For me it has been interesting to learn, for instance, that in the former Soviet Union, the labor segregation was related more to gender-based job restrictions in regulations than to gender differences in education or the higher incidence of part-time work among women, which are commonly accepted reasons to explain this gap.

                                                             

                                                            On On the other hand, I share Chhaya Jha´s opinion in that it is important to develop a gender strategy through a participatory process before the implementation of any program in this sector because their  implications are extremely complex and too often women´s views are not taken into account, even if in theory a gender-responsive evaluation has been completed.  Nevertheless, because of the huge differences among local contexts pointed out by Julia Miguez, and due to the newness of many of these programs, I think it is more useful to systematize the lessons learned than to elaborate general guidelines for this sector. 

                                                      • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                        C4D Explorer

                                                        Hello everyone, this is Sebastian Rodriguez, from my experiences in different parts of the world related to energy and infrastructure projects in general, I have the following points to share:

                                                        • - Technical roles in constructions phases are really a small fraction of the more menial construction work jobs. As this construction phase is temporal on it's own sense, high paid jobs go to people with the technical capacity and willingness to work in remote areas. Women in general, because culture bias, perception and education have difficult to penetrate these markets.
                                                        • - The secondary markets or spin off opportunities where women seem to dominate flourish 'spontaneously', almost never planed or supported by the engineering project itself. As most of the workers in these sites are young, single men earning wages many times higher of what they would earn in equivalent jobs in cities, there are good business opportunities for services. I do agree that there is need to ease this process to get more long term results.
                                                        • - From a public health perspective, these markets also include sex services and unsafe behaviors as drinking and drugs.  Many times there are few or ill planned healthy entertainment policies for the low tiers employees in these sites.
                                                        • - In the planning and design phases, social safe wards, that may or nor include a gender perspective, are very little understood by planners and decisions makers. The environmental impact people have actually done a better job to describe clear and measurable guidelines. It is more difficult to do something similar for the social and gender impacts, but more coherence and adherence to best practices would be desirable.
                                                        • - There are practical issues such as that much of the work in the electricity and power sector is done by subcontracting of specialized agents and companies. These may or may not in principle agree on gender sensitive activities, but frequently lack know how or adequate budgets to carry out impact driven activities. I do think, as in local governance issues, the fact of having specific lines on budgets linked to measurable indicators is a low hanging fruit to kick off change. Mostly when you think about that all these infrastructure projects represent in developing countries a high, mainly public, investment and gender activities could be really low cost.
                                                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                          C4D Connoisseur

                                                          Hi again! Yesterday I was reading an interesting article called 'Why Women Leave Engineering", it states that of the different types of workplace barriers that were examined, work-role uncertainty was one of the two that most negatively influenced women's satisfaction levels. "One of the biggest barriers that current engineers faced at work was the lack of clarity in the goals, objectives and responsibilities in their work roles. These role-related barriers were related to a diminished sense of satisfaction with their jobs and careers. Research has shown that lack of clarity regarding job roles and expectations can create tension and stress for employees and negatively affect their satisfaction (Schaubroeck, Ganster, Sime, & Ditman, 1993). Current engineers who reported being given excessive workload without commensurate resources also experienced low levels of satisfaction with their jobs (but not their careers)". The second biggest barrier was a work environment that consistently undermined and belittled them. http://studyofwork.com/files/2011/03/NSF_Women-Full-Report-0314.pdf

                                                           


                                                          • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                            C4D Explorer

                                                            Hello from Elizabeth Cecelski, ENERGIA International Network on Gender & Sustainable Energy.  What a wonderful discussion!  I wanted to share with you some experiences from Uganda working with Rural Electrification Agency (REA) team on gender mainstreaming in Norad rural electrification projects in 2011-2012.

                                                             

                                                            Construction – Local employment in rural electrification works is primarily of men, but has the potential to offer needed off-farm employment to women.  REA works through contractors, so it was important to REA that gender actions proposed would be feasible for them.  REA invited contractors to a workshop where the team presented findings from fieldwork and desk reviews, and the contractors suggested actions. Women do participate as casual labourers and women usually work in: storekeeping, supervising excavation of poles, wiring in households, creating awareness to communities, cooking for the workers. One contractor had tried hiring women to dig holes for poles because women cost less, but women could not dig as quickly. Sometimes stereotypes do apply, women are refused work and give up.  It was agreed though that many tasks could be done by women or men.  One proposal from REA and contractors was to analyse all the tasks in the construction and operations chain, and identify which could be opportunities to hire women.  Another idea was to state in the bid ToR and provide extra points for bids that included women in the company or in the employment, or that had had gender training.  Gender targets or quotas were also discussed.

                                                             

                                                            We also found women living near sites who complained that “the construction workers use vulgar language even before our children and in-laws, this makes us hate to work with them because they don’t respect our cultures.  So how can we as women wish to work with such people?  You can get scared that they can rape you!!”  REA has an HIV/AIDS campaign for its construction sites, posters say: “Be wise and live responsibly!  Avoid sex with mobile men with money!”

                                                             

                                                            Operations – REA operates distribution through concessions, we visited a female engineer head of office in the field and found out that actually 3 of the 5 concession offices were headed by women, after a first successful “role model”.  The company believes that women perform better and are more committed; they would like to hire more women but there are few women engineers/technical staff qualified and ready to work in the electricity sector.  The head of office pointed out that women do encounter prejudice and “talk”, but once they show they can do the job, they can be accepted; they need to change their “dress code” and be willing to wear trousers. 

                                                             

                                                            The concessionaire likes the pre-payment system, because people can buy what they can afford and there are no collection problems; but some people have to travel long distances to recharge, and so women groups have banded together to send a boda-boda to recharge.  But women lack confidence in loading the system and fear electricity.  Women are more law-abiding when informal credit for connection is offered by the concession; men are more likely to default and have to be disconnected before paying up.

                                                             

                                                            Environmental and social assessment – Equitable wayleaves compensation was the most important gender issue identified by REA (men own 94% of land in Uganda), even though spousal consent is regulated in Land Act it does not always function – eg wayleaves payments are made only when construction actually begins, so women may not know when their spouses receive the funds.  ESIAs and RAPs are the responsibility of the Ugandan environment authorities and social scientists in energy agencies; they were very aware of the problems with spousal consent, need for stakeholder consultation with women, sex-disaggregated data etc., and would like to do this, but resources are not available for the longer-lasting stakeholder engagement needed, grievance resolution committees, legal sensitization on women's rights, etc.  Also, donors just check off whether ESIA was done or not, and not whether it was sex-disaggregated, and not whether the ESIA is taken into account in later activities and monitoring.

                                                             

                                                            Institutional level – REA offers (limited) paternity leave as well as maternity leave – the young male engineers did not know this.

                                                             

                                                            We also worked with UETCL the transmission agency, many of the same issues arose.  Women employees there pointed out that "female employees including those with babies under six months are deployed as full time field officers with little regard to gender specific roles and requirements."  Although 28% of employees are female at organization level, only 3 out of 30 managers are women.  The majority of women employees are in financial analysis/human resources/admin, units which are critical to the success of the agency mission - yet engineering-related training is given first priority (by managers and by donors).

                                                             

                                                            Thank you for the chance to participate!

                                                              • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                luzcaballero C4D Connoisseur

                                                                Following what Julia Miguez, from the Gender Safeguard team at the IADB, regarding the local context, and adding to Chhaya Jha and Maria Beatriz Orlando comments on how women get most of the jobs generated in the provision of services for the personnel, I would like to show, how an infrastructure project  benefits from women’s work. Years ago, I attended a Rural Electricity Workshop in Bolivia, in which a team from Venezuela described why women were hired in key positions in the construction of a hydro plant.

                                                                 

                                                                The production management worried about the decline on productivity that the construction of the plant suffered right after holidays, weekends and pay day. As Francisco Sebastian Rodriguez Sanchez previously introduced, alcoholism seemed to be the main cause. Then, the management decided to hire women in key positions (those essential to keep the chain of production on) and the level of production returned to the required levels again. In 2012, the project claimed to have reached 26% of women working as welders, carpenters, masons, electricity technicians and others.


                                                                Patti Petesch supports the use of quotas, but as Katherine C. Heller defends: a project need to guarantee safety in the work environment for women, (remember  howPranav Vaidya described the hard working conditions of the local laborers in his field visit), How could an infrastructure project effectively apply quotas while guaranteeing safety for its female and male workers?

                                                                 

                                                                Teresa Carazo Jiménez did you used quotas in your project with silversmiths in Bolivia? Francisco Sebastian Rodriguez Sanchez have you ever applied quotas in your energy projects?   Patricia Gabaldon : it is possible to create mandatory quotas for the private sector?

                                                                 

                                                                What if we include quotas in a infrastructure project, and then, the developer is unable to find women to fulfill them?

                                                                  • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                    740631 C4D Connoisseur

                                                                    Thanks for a superb summary and questions Luz!

                                                                     

                                                                    I am very much in favor of quotas when it comes to entrenched gender inequalities in political representation or decision making (political quotas , quotas for community consultations). Equal opportunity quotas such as having at least 1 female candidate when short listing or interviewing for jobs also seem to work. However, job quotas or procurement quotas can be counterproductive given the dynamics of labor and products markets as well as the structural gender barriers cited  by many of our participants. A specific area of concern is guaranteeing safety for women workers in construction sites. It is also not conducive to maximizing gender equality or development impact if firms have to hire women who are less qualified than men for a specific job.

                                                                     

                                                                    On the other hand, a required Gender Action Plan resulting from consultations or findings from social assessments would focus on the gender issues that are more relevant to the project and that have more potential doe poairicw impact  given the context.

                                                                      • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                        C4D Enthusiast

                                                                        I find the discussion about quotas interesting and I agree with Maria Beatriz. In the recent review of SSNs and Gender I conducted for IEG we looked at quotas in public works. We found that when quotas exist the project team generally does not explain their rationale and how the threshold was set, and -- in reporting results -- whether the quota was met or not, and generally what changed because of it. So, there is no systematic evidence of how they work.

                                                                        Quotas are, from an economist's perspective, distortionary and their adoption is justified by the existence of a bigger distorsion that can be best addressed by quotas. The case of India is always quoted (pun unintended!) as an example of a successfull quota strategy, but this is very much related to political representation (and at lower levels). Do we have other examples, closer to our case? The quota may be helpful to change attitudes towards the presence of women in sectors where they had been traditionally excluded because of stereotyping, preconceived gender roles etc. but the quota may be inappropriate and even hurtful if it limits the option of households or when the binding constraints are others.

                                                                          • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                            C4D Enthusiast

                                                                            I dont think that this evolved from a quota system, so it's a bit tangential, but this discussion of quotas as a way to bring women into the labor force is reminiscent of how women have been integrated into certain aspects of the extractives industry - when women started being hired as truck drivers (i'm not certain if that was initiated as an attempt to fill a quota, or just seen as a way to employ more women), mining companies began to realize that women were often much more effective at the job - they went slower and lost less material off the back of the truck (like, big trucks moving quarried materials), had fewer accidents, had a better attendance rate, and were better about following safety procedures. This example has been useful leverage for advocating for overcoming other stereotypes against women's involvement, and opening doors to other types of jobs in the industry.

                                                                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                          C4D Explorer

                                                                          I am glad that Patty Petesch and Luz Caballero have brought up the subject of quotas, because I think that affirmative action such as that can be a powerful tool to address the gender gap if implemented as a part of a wider process or within a comprehensive strategy. Otherwise, they run the risk of becoming just symbolic measures and, in certain contexts, may even cause negative impacts. Of course, security and work conditions have to be taken into account as a key issue prior to proceed with the quotas.

                                                                           

                                                                          Answering Luz´s question, the project in Bolivia I previously wrote about targeted women (only some men were eventually admitted on an exceptional basis), so in this case there was a quota of 95%.  As part of the complementary measures implemented, we used to signed agreements with the companies interested in hiring these women and with the local authorities in order to guarantee appropriate work conditions for them .

                                                                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                          740631 C4D Connoisseur

                                                                          Thanks so much Elizabeth!

                                                                           

                                                                          We will try to capture the rich information you provided about the Uganda Rural Electrification project (NORAD) in an upcoming report.

                                                                        • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                          C4D Explorer

                                                                          Hi, this is Paloma Marcos, Gender and Climate Change Consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank.

                                                                           

                                                                          In 2012, the number of people working on the wind energy sector in direct and indirect employees was over 670,000 people with an annual growth of 17.2% since 2007. According to the Forecast World Wind Energy 2012, in a moderate scenario this energy could generate more than 2.6 million jobs in 2030. The figures also show that it is a predominantly male sector where about 75% of jobs are occupied by men. Women are usually relegated to positions of management and human resources.

                                                                           

                                                                          However, there are many jobs that women can carry out in a wind farm during its development and operation. For example, after the construction of the farms the wind turbines require periodical equipment inspections, cleaning, and repairs. These tasks are performed by wind turbine service technicians who must climb the towers with their tools in a backpack. At this moment, industry sources report that there is currently a shortage of trained wind tech and it is a job that might be interesting to promote in developing countries. Training women in this area can be included in our projects. But how could we ensure that women will be hired afterwards? Thanks for the interesting debate!

                                                                          • Re: JOBS - Barriers and Risks for Women Participation in Jobs Generated During Construction and Operation
                                                                            C4D Explorer

                                                                            Hi, this is Pansy.

                                                                            Thanks for sharing ideas with you.And Hope to engage in discussing with you.

                                                                            I don't know if anybody here had put attention to Chinese women. If someone has interests in this field , please send me Email. My Email address is pacysong@hotmail.com  .Reply here is both OK.

                                                                            Thanks.

                                                                            Look forward to hear from you.