Over the past couple of years, the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) have been looking for ways to enhance their contribution to gender equality and empowerment.  They aren’t alone in this – it is an increasingly important area for investors and Governments. This momentum around gender-lens investing has offered up plenty of opportunities to learn and partner up with others.

So, in partnership with the Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development programme (ICED), PIDG are excited to share their new approach for selecting and managing infrastructure investments for better gender impacts. This approach is formulated around a Gender Ambition Framework, developed by Caroline Moser and ICED.

PIDG are planning to use this in two ways.

  • Firstly, at a portfolio level they will categorise new projects based on their gender empowerment ambitions, to monitor how much they are doing and where.
  • Secondly, they will identify ways to take their projects up a level where there are opportunities to do so, from ‘doing the minimum’ to offering greater opportunities for empowerment, for example, through changes in the way local communities are consulted, or infrastructure services are delivered to households and businesses.

At the moment ICED have produced a summary Gender Ambition Framework for PIDG projects. ICED are also producing more detailed gender guidance for the agri-infrastructure and power sectors, which we will share later this year.

The PIDG guidelines are intended to be ‘live’ documents that are adapted as we learn more.   We have learnt some initial lessons already.

  • Projects have varying levels of influence on gender inclusion, and we need to be very clear about these in-order to focus our efforts effectively.
  • The sectors and economies in which PIDG works are fast-changing, bringing in different types of opportunities and challenges.
  • In projects that have a more direct relationship with end-users, for example decentralised grids or rural microgrids, the potential to tailor products and services to meet the needs of women and girls as service users is much greater. For example, gender equality outcomes for grid tied energy generation, are largely dependent on government policy. In projects like this, investors and project developers can improve community consultations and employment outcomes for women, through better diversity standards on consultation and in the workplace.

Please get in touch if you have other lessons or insights to share, or would like to collaborate with us. Email: vidya.naidu@icedfacility.org

The Gender Ambition Framework for PIDG Projects

The draft Gender Ambition Framework for investments in key PIDG sectors is available here. The Framework takes into account, that whilst gender ambition with regards to environmental and social risk assessment are similar across sectors, there are differences in gender integration opportunities for the design and formulation of investments for each sector (see sector examples below)

Note, that the ‘minimum’ level of gender ambition aligns with requirements under the safeguards policies of PIDG lenders. This includes policies from the UK government, the IFC, AfDB, CDC, EIB and other DFIs. For ICED, the ‘minimum’ level of the framework relates not only to environmental and social risk assessment but also to a project’s business rationale and design.

Click here to see the full framework. 

The ICED programme helps DFID and other government departments spending ODA to improve the effectiveness of infrastructure and urban programming. We either design new programmes or help increase the impact of existing programmes. ICED is a demand-led facility, so we engage at the request of Central Teams and Country Offices. ICED is managed by PwC and draws on expertise from an alliance which includes Arup, ASI, Engineers Against Poverty, the International Institute for Environment and Development, MDY Legal and Social Development Direct.