New gender study to explore women’s employment in hydropower

A new World Bank study supported by the International Hydropower Association will look at ways to promote gender equality in the hydropower sector.

The initiative from the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is being delivered by IHA together with the Global Women's Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET).

The study will look at the gender employment gap in the hydropower sector, which employs around two million people globally. It will seek to determine where women work within companies and identify barriers to entry and advancement, as well as effective strategies to address those barriers.

“The goal of the study is to identify and encourage best practice and practical approaches on gender equality that can be applied by organisations during project design and implementation,” said Bente Brunes, Senior Energy Specialist in the World Bank ESMAP team.

Global gender survey

With an increased focus on expanding global hydropower investment and employment comes the opportunity and need to address barriers and gaps for women in relation to recruitment, retention and promotion.

As part of the study, women and men working in the sector are encouraged to take part in an online survey. The survey targets people working in private companies, public utilities, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

“The World Bank is committed to gender equality, and we know that attracting more women to the most productive sectors such as hydropower and the STEM field propels poverty reduction. Therefore this study will help to enhance the labour force participation rates of women in the sector,” added Nathyeli Acuna, World Bank ESMAP Gender Specialist.

The study will focus on developing countries and involve discussions with focus groups. The results will be reported in mid-2022 and will include recommended actions and guidance for improving gender equality in the sector.  

Better data, information and knowledge

“IHA is pleased to be contributing to the World Bank’s efforts to close the gender gaps between women and men working in hydropower. This will inform and drive forward thinking on how to promote gender diversity within the sector,” said Cristina Diez Santos, Senior Hydropower Sector Analyst at IHA.

Christine Lins, Executive Director at GWNET said: “GWNET is pleased to be working with IHA to help improve employment opportunities for women in the hydropower sector through better data, information and knowledge. This is a meaningful step forwards for the sector.”

In addition to the sector survey, those considering a career in hydropower are encouraged to a complete a dedicated survey for students and academics.

For further information about the study and to participate in focus groups, please contact IHA Analyst Acile Hammoud at


The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is a global knowledge and technical assistance program administered by the World Bank and supported by 18 bilateral donors. Its mission is to assist low- and middle-income countries to develop the policies, strategies and institutions necessary for sustainable solutions to energy challenges. Since its inception in 1983, ESMAP has supported more than 800 energy sector activities that promote poverty reduction, economic growth and low carbon development in over 100 countries.

The ESMAP Hydropower Development Facility aims to scale up sustainable hydropower projects in recognition of the critical role it plays in system balancing and water resource management to enhance climate resilience, and to support its clients to develop and manage these.

The ESMAP Gender and Energy Program aims to close gender gaps in the energy sector. ESMAP has built considerable momentum for closing gender gaps through its global Gender and Energy Program and its six regional programs. These programs have helped strengthen women's roles as consumers, employees, and entrepreneurs in the energy sector. Aligned with the WBG Gender Strategy (FY16-23), ESMAP works with countries to design innovative interventions and generate crucial cutting-edge knowledge of actions needed to close gender gaps in the sector and improve development outcomes.

For more information about ESMAP’s gender programme visit:

About IHA

IHA is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Its mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. IHA achieves this through monitoring the hydropower sector, building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge, and advancing strategies that strengthen performance.

Stay in touch with IHA at:,,


GWNET aims to advance the global energy transition by empowering women in energy through interdisciplinary networking, advocacy, training and mentoring. GWNET seeks to address the current gender imbalances in the energy sector and to promote gender-sensitive action around the energy transition in all parts of the world.

For more information about GWNET visit:

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