Why gender and energy?
Up until the recent past, all energy projects were treated as gender neutral since it was believed that energy issues and solutions impact women and men in similar ways. It is important to consider gender issues in energy projects and policies because:
- Energy is essential for women's expanding economic and social opportunities.
- Analysing the energy priorities of both women and men and understanding the constraints that particularly affect women, helps ensure that the needs of families are better met and learning potential is improved.
- Women are household energy managers, energy users and suppliers, and budding energy entrepreneurs, including them in energy sector decisions that affect them, can help ensure more effective use of resources and satisfied customers.
The answer is not for gender and energy to be focused on exclusively as separate projects. In fact, all energy projects should consider the differing role of men and women in relation to energy systems. This theme is repeated in most projects, evaluations, and discussions that deal with the gender and energy nexus. ENERGIA-Africa is a key resource in this regard.
Women spend more time fetching water, grinding food and collecting wood and using large quantities of energy in the daily subsistence and productive activities. It is increasingly being realized that greater attention to the gender issues in energy policies and programmes could help governments promote overall sustainable development goals of poverty alleviation, employment, health, education and women’s empowerment as encompassed in the MDGs. ENERGIA Africa plays a leading role in drawing attention to the importance of considering gender issues in energy development plans and policies through innovative approaches and activities.