Gender indicators for the energy sector: Challenges and ways forward

If you are working in the energy and development community, you will be familiar with the argument: ‘energy provision is not a goal in itself, but the benefits of energy services are’. With the inclusion of energy in the Sustainable Development Goals and the rising recognition of the need to understand gendered differences, the attention for assessing the impacts of energy interventions from a gender perspective has gained momentum. However, translating such a gendered perspective into measurable indicators to facilitate assessment, is a complex and emerging field.

On 21 April, close to 100 participants joined a webinar on gender indicators for the energy sector that was organized jointly by GECCO-IUCN and ENERGIA.

Ana Rojas, IUCN, moderated the webinar after providing an introduction on the need for indicators, the Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO) initiative, and webinar series.

Annemarije Kooijman, ENERGIA, then set the stage in an introduction to the why, who and what of gender indicators in the energy sector. The differences in backgrounds and objectives of different stakeholders is reflected in the focus of different sets of indicators- although identification of common interest in objectives such as in health or empowerment could lead to more mutual learning through sharing of indicators and open access. A key message was that sex disaggregation of data in existing surveys is not sufficient to capture gender issues- instead gender sensitive formulation of key issues is necessary for a true gendered perspective.

Tanja Winther, University of Oslo, provided in depth insights into indicator development on gender goals and empowerment. Based on recent research performed by her team EFEWEE ( she presented challenges in defining gender and empowerment, and a framework of for assessing women’s empowerment through electrification. By specifying categories and dimensions of impacts, these complex issues can be translated into concrete questions for further specification.

Vivien Forster, SE4All, gave an update on the progress towards global energy access, and on the work being performed on datacollection on energy access in SE4all through the MultiTier Framework. She showed that while progress on energy access is slightly behind schedule with regards to access to electricity, the progress on access to clean cooking fuels is actually negative, with the percentage of population increasing instead of decreasing. The datacollection through the MultiTier framework, which goes beyond binary energy access is starting this year. The deeper insights into the nature of energy access for cooking and electricity will support initiatives for meaningful energy access, also for women.

Watch the webinar recording here

This webinar is a joint collaboration between IUCN’s GECCO initiative and ENERGIA. The Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO) initiative is a five-year program launched by USAID and IUCN in 2014. ENERGIA is an international network on gender and energy. The Gender and Energy Research programme funded by DFID and managed by ENERGIA will provide empirical evidence to inform policy on gender and energy issues.