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The case for a gender perspective on energy access

When women have access to energy…

When women have access to energy it contributes to POVERTY REDUCTION. Energy access saves time, when it substitutes manual labour and reduces drudgery of fetching fuel wood and water, tasks typically women are responsible for. It reduces indoor air pollution levels and hence improves health, when polluting energy forms such as wood fuel and kerosene intense stoves are replaced by improved cookstoves. It improves education, as it enables studying after sunset and greater flexibility in the organization of everyday chores. Lastly, energy access creates new opportunities for income generating activities, as products or services can be improved, processes made more efficient, operational costs reduced and working conditions improved. Benefits of a higher income for women reach far beyond the individual. Studies show that women reinvest 90 percent of their income in their families and communities, while men reinvest only 30 to 40 percent

Taking women into account in energy interventions means improved ENERGY ACCESS. Female-headed households are less likely to have access to energy than male-headed households. Specifically targeting female-headed households therefore means higher levels of energy access. On the adoption rate side of access, appliances (such as stoves) that have been designed in collaboration with women are more likely to be accepted and used by women.

Women in energy jobs can improve the energy supply chain EFFECTIVENESS. Women are part of social networks that differ from those of men and through which they have access to hard-to-reach households. In decision making positions at all levels and branches within the supply chain, the voice of women contributes to more balanced and diverse decisions. Opening up the sector to women in non-traditional jobs increases their chances of income generation and empowerment.