Embedding Gender-Smart Practices

Introduction & Background 

PFAN recognises 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 business coaching and investment facilitation activities.

PFAN’s gender mainstreaming strategy is built on this foundation, and PFAN’s wide network of more than 130 locally based advisors offers the unique opportunity for disseminating and multiplying concepts and information through capacity building. We consider our PFAN advisors as our main agents of change, being in a position to drive and influence gender-equitable change, since they are working directly and deeply with entrepreneurs as well as the ecosystem that supports them.

Capacitating our PFAN advisors to become effective agents of change was at the heart of the commitment made by UNIDO earlier this year at the GenderSmart Investing Summit “EmPOWER and Accelerate a Just Transition by Embedding Gender-Smart Practises in Climate Entrepreneurship Ecosystems”.

As mentioned in the commitment tracker, PFAN committed to call upon organisations (e.g. accelerators, project preparation facilities, entrepreneur networks) to step-up capacity building of clean energy and climate finance advisors working in the areas of energy transition and climate change. The aim is  to enable them as agents of change to influence and shape the behaviour of SMEs, start-ups and the ecosystem around them to become more gender-responsive and inclusive. UNIDO is already committed to do this based on its Gender Policy and Strategy. UNIDO and PFAN recognise that impact at scale will only be achieved if others will follow suit. This should lead to creating more compelling gender smart investment opportunities for investors, improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs and ultimately fuel the transition to a just and green economy and reaching the 2030 Goals. Connecting PFAN’s efforts to other commitments and initiatives like the 2X Gender and Climate Finance Taskforce and the Gender Energy Compact, currently being developed by a coalition of stakeholders, will further increase the impact and potential for transformative change.


More information

Gender Energy Compact

To accelerate action towards SDG7 in line with the other SDGs and the Paris Agreement, Energy Compacts are being mobilized in the lead up to the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021. The Energy Compacts are voluntary commitments and actions by all stakeholders to achieve SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

A multi-stakeholder energy compact, co-developed by ENERGIA, GWNET and UNIDO and their partners, and co-led by the governments of Ecuador, Iceland, and Kenya is developed to catalyze action towards gender equality and empowering women to accelerate a just, inclusive and sustainable energy transition. Governments, private sector, finance, academia, civil society, youth, intergovernmental organizations and media are invited to sign up to the energy compact. Together and individually, we will support a just and inclusive energy transition that is gender responsive, locally lead and globally connected.

In the decade of action towards 2030, we will annually review our energy compact through an open dialogue, to allow for scaling up our commitment, adding new stakeholders, tracking success stories, sharing learnings and responding to challenges. 


2X Challenge – 2X gender and climate finance taskforce

The 2X Gender and Climate Finance Taskforce is an initiative powered by EIB, CDC and DEG and is aimed at leveraging the power of gender-smart investments for climate action in the run-up to the COP-26, taking place November 2021. The Taskforce recognizes the role women play in leading climate action, strengthening the sustainability of infrastructure

delivery, and driving adaptation, resilience and mitigation solutions at all levels of the value chain. 



The Private Financing Advisory Network is a global network of more than 130 climate and clean energy financing experts, initiated in 2006 to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and private sector investors. Since 2017 PFAN has been hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). PFAN advises low-carbon, climate resilient businesses in developing countries and matches projects to appropriate private financing. With our global mission to mobilize private investment for climate change adaptation and mitigation in support of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals. We continue to be driven by our determination to assist promising entrepreneurs to succeed and we recognize not only our responsibility but also the opportunity to contribute towards the overarching goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

To date, PFAN advisors have coached more than 1000 projects, from which 176 raised a total of US $2 billion of investment leading to the installation of ca 2 GW of clean generation capacity and contributing to over 4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent reduction on an annual basis. 


Value for Women

Value for Women is a woman-led global social enterprise that works closely with partners to design and implement research, technical assistance, evaluations, tools and blended capacity-building initiatives focused on impact investing and the SME space, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Value for Women firmly believes in the MSME sector as key for economic and social growth, and that women’s empowerment and gender inclusion are intrinsic to this, as this unlocks women’s potential to drive growth at the individual, family and community levels in emerging economy contexts.

Value for Women develops close, collaborative, long-term partnerships to identify and test new solutions that drive the impact investment and SME sector forward in order to maximise impact for underserved individuals, and with gender and social inclusion at the core. They simultaneously offer practical, hands-on, participatory, implementable actions towards holistic research, learning, design of products and services, and evaluation – all with a gender and social inclusion lens.

Objectives of the workshop

The long-term objective behind the workshop is to influence & inspire the ecosystem for enterprise acceleration and investing in clean energy & climate change adaptation and mitigation to take more assertive actions on gender inclusion.

The workshop itself has as objective to explore and ignite the interest of a set of SGB intermediaries and investors working in the climate entrepreneurial support ecosystem to integrate gender dimensions more intentionally to take gender-responsive action, through offering insights, examples, and a framework for how to promote gender equality and empower women in acceleration based on the business case for gender equality. This session will explore a  call to action and test the appetite for the formation of a learning network / series (or possibly Community of Practice) on this topic.


2:00 - 2:05 PM 

Welcome remarks by Marko van Waveren Hogervorst, PFAN  

2:05 - 2:15 PM

Introduction & Framing: Applying a gender lens to entrepreneurship support by Rebecca Fries, Value for Women 

2:15 - 2:35 PM

Lightning chats moderated by PFAN 

At a high level, guest speakers will talk about: 

  • Why is applying a gender lens important in your perspective? 
  • What motivated your organization to work at the intersection of gender & climate? 
  • What are you doing? What outcomes/results have you seen? 
  • Which challenges have you encountered? 
  • Call to action and/or recommendations for others interested in doing something similar 
2:35 - 3:15 PM 

Breakout rooms facilitated by PFAN & Value for Women 

Participants are expected to respond to each other with shared experiences and  discuss the following questions: 

  • What is standing in the way of applying a stronger gender lens in your organization? 
  • What kind of support or resources would you need to make this a reality? 
  • What are you most interested in to learn from your peers? 

The facilitators will report back in the plenary group on any major themes and resources needed and suggested next steps. 

3:20 - 3:30 PM 

Closing & next steps by PFAN 


Marko van Waveren-Hogervorst

Marko van Waveren Hogervorst - Partnership Manager & Energy Department Gender Focal Point, PFAN/UNIDO

Marko has over 20 years of experience in fund raising, setting-up strategic client relationships and developing and managing profitable new businesses and/or strategies in developed and developing countries. This has been done in global management positions like Head of Sales Latin America at ABN AMRO Asset Management, Global Head of Official Institutions at Fortis Investments and Global Head of Consultant Relations at BNP Paribas IP. Marko holds a Master Degree in Econometrics from the University of Groningen, and completed the Impact Investing Programme at the Said Business School of Oxford University.

Rebecca Fries - Chief Executive Officer & Founding Director, Value for Women

As CEO and Founder of Value for Women, Rebecca has spearheaded the growth of the organization into a globally-recognized leader in gender-inclusive business practice. With over 20 years of global expertise, Rebecca leads Value for Women in its efforts to design innovation for gender inclusion with investors, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), banks, financial institutions, development organizations and corporate foundations. Under Rebecca’s leadership, the Value for Women team works globally in a collaborative, multidisciplinary manner, applying practical, hands-on approaches to solve business and investment challenges with a gender and inclusion lens. This involves delivery of advisory services, and the design of research, training and communications. Rebecca has also authored and led sector-changing research on the intersection of gender, investment, entrepreneurship and economic development across sectors such as Sustainable Energy, Finance, Agriculture and Entrepreneurship.

Lightning Chat Guest Speakers

Ryan Thew - Assistant Director, DFAT

Ryan works in the Private Finance for Climate Development team in DFAT. As part of this role, Ryan is lead on DFAT’s Australian Climate Finance Partnership, as well as supporting DFAT’s broader work to mobilise private climate finance. All of DFAT’s private finance activities have a strong gender focus - considering how women and men might have different opportunities or be differently affected by investments and how investments can support gender equality. Prior to this position, Ryan managed a regional sustainable development program in South Asia and led Australian aid program engagement in a range of climate and environment multilateral fora.

Tanya Kothari - CASEE Research and Advocacy Manager, Shell Foundation

Tanya Kothari joined Shell Foundation in May 2018 and leads research, evidence generation and advocacy for our energy and agriculture portfolio. Prior to this, Tanya managed SF’s gender inclusion programme in India, while supporting the development of our partners and portfolio across energy and agriculture sectors. Before joining SF, Tanya spent almost three years working in diverse commercial and technical roles in Market Intelligence, Supply Chain Excellence and Well Engineering within the Shell Group. Tanya has an Integrated MTech in Geophysics from IIT Roorkee (India) and holds a Professional Diploma from CIPS.

Tracy Dolan - Head of Knowledge Management and Communications, EEP Africa

Tracy Dolan manages knowledge, communications and partnerships for EEP Africa, an early-stage clean energy fund operating in Southern and East Africa. EEP Africa currently has more than 60 projects in active implementation and has invested in over 250 projects in 15 countries since 2010. The fund prioritises support for innovative start-ups, local entrepreneurs, and women-led companies to foster and catalyse investment in an inclusive energy transition. Drawing on lessons learned from this diverse portfolio, Tracy develops knowledge products and learning events about energy and climate financing, and builds partnerships with key stakeholders. She brings over 20 years of public and private sector experience in sustainable development, with a long-time emphasis on promoting opportunities for women and youth.