Tetra Tech Jessica Menon Discuss Gender Equality in International Energy Worker

Discussing the promotion of gender equality for women in the world power

Northampton, MA-News Live-Tetra Tech

Jessica Menon, director of gender integration at Tetra Tech, has promoted gender equality and social inclusion globally for more than 15 years. Based in Lusaka, Zambia, it manages Tetra Tech USAID Engineering Utility Programs, manages USAID’s Energy Technical Support Group in East Africa (E4SEA), and provides technical support to gender experts in TEC Tech International Energy Services projects. . Jessica works with leadership and management teams in more than 40 energy and water resources in nearly 30 countries around the world, helping to improve gender equality and opportunities for women in men-dominated industries.

Jessica is also part of the USAID Energy Empowerment and Innovation Program, which supports gender integration and inclusion in the host of tech programs and has developed guidelines for integrating gender into energy innovation for entrepreneurship. Under USAID, Jessica has developed a number of innovative tools to promote gender equality, from leadership training courses to gender analysis web applications. The USAID Toolkit Monitoring and Evaluation has developed a series of guidelines on Gender-Based Violence Intervention in Sustainable Development and Integration of Gender Infrastructure.

Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in international policy and development from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies from the Georgetown International Migration Institute.

Over the past five years, while overseeing the engineering resources program, what changes have Tetra Tech made in terms of gender awareness and equality among the tools it uses in developing countries?

Traditionally, it is dominated by men: only 25 percent of the labor force is women. We are making changes to ensure that there are opportunities for women in the most lucrative technical and leadership positions in the employee life cycle. With the recent increase in the number of women in the field and in leadership, we have been able to increase our income, and we have been able to attract more of our utility partners. Utilities are becoming role models for each other. In the Dominican Republic, Edsur Dominica is very clear about sexual harassment. The CEO told the Ministry of Labor that parental leave is crucial to changing the cultural norms in the workplace and in the care of men and women. That is having an impact on national change and has an angry effect. The manager of Nigeria’s Eco Electric Power Distribution Company promised to regularly talk to his field workers about gender norms and sexual harassment. I am so honored to be a part of this program and to see that change.

How do changes in energy jobs and workplace culture support gender equality in the industry?

There are still many places in the world where traditional labor is allowed, whether or not women are allowed to work. But with the advancement of technology, many jobs that were once considered labor-intensive have changed and are now looking for lucrative skills that are attractive to women and open to them.

But this is not enough – what we have seen in engineering facilities shows that women can find, grow and grow jobs, and resources can have a rich talent pool. In partner facilities, CEOs have made it clear that gender equality is one of the key pillars of their business strategy. That employer has proven to attract more women who see it as safe and dignified and a place to move up in their careers. That goes beyond the natural technological advances of the industry.

How do you see the evidence that the work of the tech industry will improve the performance of the gender equality utility business?

This is something we see a little bit on many of our facilities, and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) in India is a good example. All of our partner utilities suffer revenue losses. The most challenging, critical business issues faced by many utilities are energy theft and non-payment of utility bills. In the BRPL, they continue to send men to read meters and collect bills, and the men return from their homes alone and do not want anyone to enter. Shivani Kumar, General Manager of Customer Care and one of our engineering resources participants, had the idea of ​​coaching a group of 40 women in collections and re-evaluated their approach. They knew members of the community by name, spoke about the need to pay bills, and listened to the reasons why people had difficulty paying. This female-led group has found nearly 100 percent of the area. BRPL is now duplicating its approach in other areas, and other resources are doing the same. It’s not just about collecting accounts. It’s about taking advantage of creative and innovative opportunities from a diverse group of people.

How does engineering resource training help leaders increase opportunities for women working in resources?

Every two weeks, we will work with Georgetown University’s 12-month executive management program, which includes change management training. One of the requirements for our service partners in engineering facilities is not only to show that senior leaders understand that gender equality is good for their business, but also to show that they are willing to take a leadership role and become champions in this area. Utilities will send three senior managers to this program, including influential people who can make changes to policies and procedures. Often, when an organization is working on gender equality, they send the youngest person to work – someone who can come up with good plans but who has no power to make changes. Magic happens when you have an active, participatory group of leaders who can move that work forward.

We are currently testing an accelerated version of the program to get people started with gender equality. It includes a train-trainer program in collaboration with five local universities with highly qualified teachers in Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, Colombia, and Eastern Europe. You will learn how to create a one-week in-depth program that focuses on the framework of best practices in engineering resources. Participants will receive five virtual coaching sessions on Change Management when they leave the Gender Action Plan and apply. The goal is to make progress, because small changes make it faster to do more.

How is Tetra Tech contributing to gender equality in the global energy sector?

Tetra Tech has a number of projects that are gender integrated. Increasing energy and water and energy will support entrepreneurs and approaches to energy, agriculture and water for the Great Challenge of Food. In those projects, Tetra Tech has integrated gender requirements for fundraisers and has a gender specialist to help innovators improve their products, accessibility, marketing, customer service and internal work. For some time, we have also been looking at opportunities for consulting or staff development, and we have been integrating large-scale projects focused on institutional improvement. Within the framework of the project, we will ensure that women’s organizations and women policymakers are involved in the changes in the energy sector. Now, we are working on a gender-based energy program and ways to truly organize and strengthen our approach. In Southeast Asia, we are developing an accelerated program model for seven countries under E4SEA and working with academic partners to address the pipeline for women’s talent and access in STEM careers. At USAID Sustainable Energy, we have developed a consulting program for women with practical applications in the implementation of engineering tools for the Pakistan Project. And at USAID Sustainable Strengthening for Indonesia’s Progress Project, we are working with potential employers to support gender best practices.

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