|| ENERGIA, together with the African Development Bank and the Climate Investment Funds have jointly launched four country briefs on November, 24 during the virtual event “Gender and Sustainable Energy Access in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda”. The briefs contribute to increasing data availability on gender and energy and provide insights for future gender sensitive interventions to ensure men and women reap the benefits of energy interventions.
During the launch, which drew together over 300 participants from three continents, Principal Investigator Annemarije Kooijman presented main insights and provided recommendations for governments to strengthen gender responsiveness in the energy sector, positioning gender equality as a critical enabler for an inclusive and sustainable energy sector. The panelists, mainly gender and energy experts and high-level decision-makers discussed women’s role in the global energy transition and the urgent need for sex-disaggregated data and evidence.
“Knowledge products are critical to provide evidence-based arguments in our country policy dialogue for providing adequate technical assistance and focus on the implementation of relevant actions. The data collection for realizing these briefs, the analysis of country strategic papers in the gender and energy fields, and above all discussions with national stakeholders, enable us to obtain specific recommendations for each country, which can be used by decision-makers, policy-makers, as well as by CSOs” said Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, African Development Bank who introduced the event.
Why gender and energy?
Energy access is linked to many development areas, including education, health care, agriculture, food security, safety, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Without coordinated actions, investments and policy reforms, the world will not be able to ensure energy access and access to clean cooking technologies to the 789 million and 2.8 billion people respectively, who experience energy poverty.
Gender gaps remain a barrier to equal access to modern and cleaner energy services for women. Challenging norms and traditional practices limit women’s empowerment and enhance the under-representation of women in the sector. Paired with lack of gender-disaggregated data and ineffective gender-responsive policies, these norms influence the current unequal distribution of investments and access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender inequalities in society, including when it comes to energy access. With families spending more time at home due to lockdowns and schools closing, the need for energy is more urgent than ever. Women do most of the cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family. As a result, they suffer the greatest impacts of energy poverty.
The Gender and Energy Country Briefs
The briefs aim at providing information to develop more effective initiatives that empower women in the energy sector and strengthen the incorporation of gender in policies and programmes in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Commenting on the briefs, Nnenna Nwabufo, Deputy Director General/Acting Director General of East Africa, African Development Bank, East African region said: “This launch and discussion will support those who are involved in the next steps towards furthering gender equality in access to the benefits of appropriate and clean energy services”. She added: “When women are excluded from energy governance, decision-making processes are more likely to result in energy projects and policies that ignore the unique needs, knowledge and contributions of women”.
To create a more responsive, equal and inclusive energy sector, women must be recognized as central actors of this energy transition. Actions include strengthening women’s participation and leadership, advancing educational opportunities and consolidating gender policies at local, national and international level.
According to ENERGIA’s Annemarije Kooijman, Principal Investigator, “to help realise gender goals governments should (i) commit to gender mainstreaming, (ii) collect and update data disaggregated by sex, age, rural/urban, income, (iii) develop knowledge and skills in gender analysis, including providing guidelines and procedures for implementation, and perform monitoring and impact assessments (iv) invest in gender-responsive approaches in policies and programmes, and ensure budget commitment”.