|| Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, policy- and decision makers, governments, multilateral organisations, private companies, and civil society organisations, at both international and national level, have been called to take action on ending poverty and other deprivations. The Agenda recognizes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focused on thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology.
Since the beginning, ENERGIA has actively worked on SDG7 on energy access and SDG5 on gender equality, and their interconnection. Our experience suggests that energy access and gender equality are inextricably linked, and addressing them together can offer multiple development gains. Indeed, to enhance energy access and achieve related sustainable development goals, women are central players because of their role as household and natural resources managers, food producers, and educators. Hence, striving for gender equality and therefore for the application of a gender lens to energy programmes and policies, is the key to social and economic development.
The new report released by ENERGIA, in collaboration with nine research teams, gathers the empirical evidence related to the benefits that taking a gender approach has for energy access interventions, with the aim to translate this evidence into recommendations for energy policy and practice. Reforming the energy sector in a more gender-sensitive way through obtained evidence is a pivotal step for the improvement of women’s and girls’ living conditions, and the impact of informed energy sector interventions leads to more effective outcomes. To respond to this objective, the five-year research programme, supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), explored five thematic areas: electrification, productive uses of energy, energy sector reform, role of the private sector in scaling up energy access, the political economy of energy sector policies, and women’s energy entrepreneurship. Titled “Gender in the transition to energy for all: From evidence to inclusive policies”, the synthesis report identifies six key messages from nine research areas and two commissioned reports, and develops a number of policy implications and recommendations to create a gender-inclusive environment in the energy sector.
The research emphasises that men and women have different energy needs, control over and access to energy resources and services. To be effective and not gender-neutral, energy policies must address this differentiation to ensure equitable access to energy services between men and women. Therefore, a focus on women’s energy needs, and consequently on social and cultural norms which influence differences in capabilities, can contribute to a more equal access to and use of energy for women and men. The relevance of bringing a gender perspective to energy planning, analysis and project design is still not widely reflected in energy policies. However, the research teams found signs of positive improvement towards gender-aware policies in different contexts.