USAID Envisions Women Leaders in the Energy Sector in Southeast Asia

HANOI, October 29, 2021 — Huge gender gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) remain in Southeast Asia, with the World Bank reporting the average share of female graduates from STEM programs at the tertiary level among Southeast Asia’s middle-income countries at only 35 percent. These factors, along with other challenges and barriers for women to join the energy sector’s workforce, have resulted in a severe underrepresentation of women in the energy sector, particularly at the leadership level.

To advance women’s economic empowerment and strengthen energy institutions, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a three-year, $9 million Enhancing Equality in the Energy Sector for Southeast Asia Activity (E4SEA), focusing on Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The new activity will increase job opportunities for women interested in pursuing careers in energy, and will be implemented by CORE International, Inc.

Dr. Steven G. Olive, Mission Director for USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, said, “Women are underrepresented in the workforce across Southeast Asia, particularly in male-dominated industries such as the energy sector. This is more than an issue of equity—it is a missed economic opportunity for countries, companies, and communities. Our partnership will empower women to take on careers and leadership roles in the energy sector.”

“As the founder of a woman-owned business, I am thrilled to lead my dream project to help women succeed in the energy sector,” said Lois Varrick, CORE’s Director and CEO. “CORE is pleased to support USAID with this activity, which we believe will break down conscious and unconscious biases and build momentum for long-lasting equality. We are excited to assist young girls in their journeys to becoming active female leaders and mentor them on the road to energy sector success in Southeast Asia.”

This USAID activity will advance gender equality, increase job opportunities for women wanting to pursue energy industry careers, and help develop solutions to address gender-based constraints to talent recruitment, as well as collaborate with employers to design locally-led interventions to hire, promote, and retain women; increase mentoring and leadership opportunities; and develop vocational education and training programs. For more information, please contact info-rdma@usaid.gov.