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For nearly twenty years since its foundation, ENERGIA has worked with governments, donors, civil society, public and private sector energy organisations to incorporate a gender approach into policy and practice. Based on this experience, ENERGIA has gained considerable insight into the issues involved and found that women and men often use, are affected by, or benefit from energy services differently. Even more importantly, because the activities of one may affect the opportunities of the other, the experiences of women and men cannot be effectively considered in isolation: the same energy service may indeed affect men and women differently, with different social or economic outcomes. And yet such a gendered perspective is largely absent in current energy investment planning, and the formulation and implementation of energy policy.

Attention to women’s empowerment and equity in relation to energy access appears not to be systematically incorporated into energy policy at global (see for example the SE4All Global Tracking Framework – despite inputs from ENERGIA), national and local levels. Tools have been developed specifically for the energy sector on how to take a more gendered approach in energy interventions. For instance, donors – such as Norad and World Bank AFREA programme – have produced tool kits for their field staff. ENERGIA has also conducted gender audits of the energy sector in collaboration with national governments in several countries in Africa and Asia.  While unequal gender power relations are well recognised as a barrier to access to modern energy services, there is less understanding of the way political processes and institutions at all levels influence this ‘evaporation’ of gender in policy and practice, and more importantly what to do about it. This suggests that there is a need for analysis that goes beyond the provision of tools, and examines the deeper issues of political economy.

There is increasing recognition that energy access will only be fully achieved if the private sector can be fully engaged in delivering sustainable modern energy services. This changes the dynamics and mechanisms of intervention and increases the focus on the enabling environment. If the statements above related to women in the work place are widely accepted then this potentially opens up career opportunities for women in the energy sector either as employees or as entrepreneurs. This process is beginning, but will need to be brought into the mainstream and to scale if universal energy access is to be achieved. There are many other processes in the energy sector and elsewhere in the economy which will have an impact on energy access, including: power sector reform, tariff policy and the removal of subsidies, policies to address climate change, the promotion of energy efficiency, and efforts to encourage private sector financing of energy related infrastructure. For these to be effective, it will be necessary to understand how these processes will affect women and men’s access to modern energy services. Therefore, a core premise of this project is that in order to convince both investors and policy makers of the need to take a more gendered approach there is a need for stronger empirical evidence that such an approach has measurable benefits to them and the wider society at scale. ENERGIA believes that evidence can have a strong influence on policy making, therefore having a substantial, reliable and informed body of evidence can play its part in formulating more effective interventions.

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The Research Teams, the Technical Advisory Group and ENERGIA IS cooperate in this research programme to create synergy and  influence the international energy policy research agenda as well as practice. While carrying out individual pieces of research, these three groups will meet together to share experiences, provide mutual support and sharpen the research. Such an approach also helps to create a synergy and to synthesize findings.

The roles of the parties in this research programme are:

  • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) : As part of a quality assurance process, the TAG will provide a steering committee function, inform the research agenda, and mentor the Research Teams by providing close support and guidance. The TAG will provide a peer-review function by reviewing research proposals,  papers and case studies produced within the programme, providing detailed written comments on drafts of papers and reports.
  • Research Teams: The core of the programme is with the research teams who will each in their own research and as a whole will generate the evidence.
  • International Secretariat of ENERGIA & Principal Investigator: The International Secretariat of ENERGIA will act as programme manager of the research programme and as coordinator of the , coordinating programme, monitoring and facilitating information dissemination. The Principal Investigator to the ENERGIA Gender and Energy Research Programme, together with the programme coordinator is responsible for technical content/reports of the programme, providing academic/intellectual/technical support to the ENERGIA IS’s management of the programme.


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The Programme’s research will take place from:

      • January 2015 to December 2015 for Phase 1; and
      • January 2016 to December 2018 for Phase 2.