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Yangon, Myanmar, March 7, 2017–IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched Powered by Women, an innovative gender initiative to build the business case for gender diversity in Myanmar’s hydropower sector. The initiative, launched on International Women’s Day, aims to help hydropower companies improve business performance and enhance sustainability by leveraging women in leadership, promoting equal-opportunity employment, and encouraging entrepreneurship.
“Women leaders and entrepreneurs in Myanmar are vibrant and active,” said Kate Lazarus, IFC’s Team Lead for environmental and social sustainability in Myanmar’s hydropower sector. “Achieving gender equity beyond a headcount at the workplace will support more women to become innovators and leaders in the sector, which we hope will take environmental and social sustainability seriously.”
Lazarus said that Powered by Women will initiate research that will help further develop the business case for action on gender equity by private-sector hydropower operators in Myanmar. This research will look at women’s current roles, interests, and opportunities. It will assess potential gains from closing gender gaps and will help companies to improve practices.
Myanmar has over 3,000 miles of rivers and 46 Gigawatts of hydropower potential—the highest in the region. The government of Myanmar has identified hydropower as an important part of the energy mix to achieve domestic electrification for 34 million people by 2030. However, women are severely underrepresented in this growing industry.
“We are bringing global examples to Myanmar that demonstrate the business case for hydropower companies to take up gender-smart initiatives,” said Amy Lunistra, IFC’s Senior Gender Advisor for East Asia and Pacific. “Powered by Women will support companies to strengthen their female leadership by providing access to professional development opportunities and, in return, improve business.”
WATER AND WOMEN: Powered by Women was introduced by Lazarus at an IFC and Australian Embassy-sponsored photo exhibition titled Water and Women, which featured the work of award-winning photographer Tessa Bunney. The exhibition opened with a panel discussion to raise awareness on women’s issues that intersect with water-resources management and good governance. The panel featured speakers from the Water Mothers, UN Women, Oxfam Myanmar, and the Australian Embassy.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org and www.ifc.org/hydroadvisory