Embedding Gender Equality for Better Development Outcomes

By: Jen Peterson, Senior Associate, and Hayley Samu, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Principal, Tetra Tech

Tetra Tech, founded in 1966, is a global consulting firm that has been a leader in international development for more than four decades. Across a portfolio of more than 250 international development projects implemented in nearly 100 countries by a staff of 4,500, Tetra Tech has increasingly integrated a gender lens into all aspects of our work. Our steadfast commitment to establishing a common vision and approach to mainstreaming gender equality, diversity, and social inclusion within our company and projects is underscored by our formal endorsement of the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender Equality.

With Tetra Tech’s international development operations reaching across many countries, cultures, and contexts, the Gender Standards provide us with a practical structure to institutionalize gender equality. Ongoing adherence to the Gender Standards strengthens the foundation of our company, allowing us to serve our clients, partners, and communities more effectively and equitably. Additionally, the Gender Standards will help us communicate to our employees, clients, partners, and shareholders our plan for meeting our gender equality commitments and will help ensure we are accountable and transparent in documenting the progress of our gender equality journey.

Tetra Tech has already made significant progress toward meeting the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender Equality. Our international development team has more than 75 Gender Equity, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) experts who are innovating and improving our use of gender analyses for a diverse range of company activities, projects, and stakeholders. We promote women’s rights and social inclusion in our democracy and governance programs; facilitate equal access to resources in our environment, water, land tenure, energy, and economic growth programs; and we promote women’s leadership and decision-making throughout our portfolio of projects and programs. Examples of some of our gender equity programming include,

Engendering Industries participants from GRIDCo visit an electricity substation in Tema, near Accra, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Ryan Kilpatrick for USAID.

USAID’s Women’s Leadership Development Project in Afghanistan, our current work through the USAID Generating Equity program in Colombia focused on transforming gender norms and reducing gender-based violence, and the global USAID Engendering Industries project, which is working to empower women and increase their representation and participation in traditionally male-dominated sectors.

The Engendering Industries team from Edesur Dominicana in the Dominican Republic at the 2019 Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program training.  Photo courtesy of Ryan Kilpatrick for USAID.

To ensure we capture and embed all the innovation and best practices evident in our projects around the world, in May 2021 we established a Gender Equity, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) Discussion Group.  The group meets monthly to discuss approaches that aim to institutionalize GEDSI within our internal practices and our projects to meet the needs of our clients and better serve communities with whom we work.  Exciting progress is being made, including the development of tools to operationalize the Gender Standards across the project cycle, from proposal development to project implementation and evaluation. We also recognize it is vital to harness creativity from all our project teams and thought leaders, representing the diverse employees that make up the Tetra Tech family. Our internal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion goes hand in hand with our external facing gender practice.

However, to fully meet the Gender Standards, we recognize we have more work to do — and we are excited about the journey. Critical to our on-going progress is the commitment of our leadership, who allocate budget resources and promote an organizational culture that values gender equality, diversity, and inclusion both at the project level and within our firm. Our leadership includes both women and men who are passionate champions for gender equality.

“Tetra Tech’s international development team is excited to endorse the Gender Minimum Standards and join its robust community of practitioners. With GEDSI as a cornerstone of our support to the clients and communities we serve, we are confident that the opportunity to learn from our peers and to share our experience will result in more impactful and equitable projects.” Keith Brown, President, Global Development Services

With each project we implement, we learn more. We want to harness that knowledge and experience, bring it back to our company and share it with others.  As a new member of the Endorsers’ Circle, the Gender Standards provide us with the framework to do just that.  We currently implement hundreds of projects around the world on behalf of U.S., U.K., European, and Australian donors that include gender equality components. We look forward to learning from these projects, sharing lessons with the Gender Standards community, and to collaborating and learning as we adopt and implement the gender minimum standards throughout Tetra Tech and around the globe.

One Reply to “Embedding Gender Equality for Better Development Outcomes”

  1. My work in Asia( India and Bangladesh in particular) in rural areas has brought up important lessons in GEDSI promotion sharing below
    1. Women to women capacity building is more effective and responsive
    2. At the same time male counterpart buy in is important for sustainable success, hence household approaches are recommended
    3. Private sector inclusion in promoting commercially viable and long term sustainable GEDSI approaches is extremely difficult unless there is a tangible benefit ( return on investment)
    4. Mixed approach for promoting GEDSI is recommended i.e hand holding through direct investment by philanthrophic institutions coupled with Market systems development (MSD) based approaches.

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