PFAN recognizes not only its responsibility but also the opportunity to contribute towards the overarching goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women within both its internal operations and regional activities.
PFAN’s gender strategy is built on this foundation, which was developed into its 2019 Gender Action Plan focusing on the mainstreaming of gender equality. In 2020 this plan was disrupted by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, and PFAN turned its focus toward virtually-held regional gender awareness trainings.
PFAN’s wide network of advisors offers the unique opportunity for disseminating and multiplying concepts and information through capacity building. This was actualised through a series of four regional gender awareness trainings in Africa, Asia and Latin America for PFAN Advisors which informed them on topics including gender imbalances and biases in the clean energy and investment space. These webinars featured case studies and experiences shared by PFAN Advisors from the region as well as the business case for gender, encouraging them to become the main agents of change.
For every single female entrepreneur who is successful, there are probably tens of others who have not had a similar opportunity to be able to exercise that entrepreneurship opportunity, mainly because of some of these gender biases that exist.
The gender aspect of a project increases the umbrella of opportunities in terms of financing. It doesn’t mean that it’s easier, it just means that you’re probably talking to other people than the traditional.
As they work directly with entrepreneurs as well as in the ecosystem that supports them, they not only have the opportunity to identify and solve disparities and gaps that exist between men and women, but they are also in the best position to influence entrepreneurs and investors to become more gender responsive.
This is why the awareness webinars were not only focused on increasing PFAN’s engagement with women as beneficiaries, but also explained how a diverse workplace makes for competitive advantage and financial sense and showed them how pursuing gender balance can improve business practices.
Feedback from and discussions throughout the gender awareness webinars also helped to guide upcoming targeted trainings, with the aim of furthering gender inclusion objectives for businesses.
Given PFAN’s aspiration to play a central role in advancing gender lens investing in private markets in developing countries, this work, supported by Value for Women, not only focuses on further developing the capacity building of PFAN Advisors, but also includes practical and scalable ways in which a gender lens can be applied to the advisory and evaluation processes.
Spotlight on Asia
PFAN not only aims to increase the pool of women-led and gender-focused projects in the clean energy and climate adaptation sector, it also wants to provide women and men with the same opportunity to be part of PFAN: as employees, advisors, entrepreneurs or network members. This is why the gender split of the network is closely monitored and reviewed. In 2020, we shine a spotlight on Asia, where the share of women entrepreneurs and country coordinators was above the average across all regions, and PFAN’s female advisors were particularly successful in raising finance for the projects they supported.
Entrepreneurs newly inducted into the PFAN Pipeline globally in 2020 (%)
Entrepreneurs newly inducted into the PFAN Pipeline in Asia in 2020 (%)
Advisors who supported projects that reached financial closure globally in 2020 (%)
Advisors who supported projects that reached financial closure in Asia in 2020 (%)
Country Coordinators globally in 2020 (%)
Country Coordinators in Asia in 2020 (%)
Sneak Preview 2021
In order to accelerate and disseminate PFAN’s effort in gender mainstreaming, PFAN is also establishing partnerships with women networks in the regions such as AWEDI, the African Women in Energy and Development Initiative. AWEDI’s mission is to encourage and unite women in the energy sector by offering a guiding platform for their progress in the industry through career accelerators, mentorship, professional development and networking opportunities. The collaboration with AWEDI will be an opportunity for PFAN advisors as well as entrepreneurs to benefit from their mentoring programmes and establish a mutual beneficial support network.
PFAN will also be working with the “EmPower – Women for Climate Resilient Societies” project which aims to support countries to implement gender inclusive climate change, renewable energy and Disaster risk reduction (DRR) actions. The main purpose of the collaboration will be to strengthen and promote access to affordable finance for women’s enterprise development with renewable energy as well as promote renewable energy and women entrepreneurship in regional fora.
PFAN’s work on capacitating advisors was highlighted at the Gender Smart Investing Summit in February 2021, and is at the core of the commitment UNIDO made on “Embedding gender smart practises in climate entrepreneurship ecosystems”.