Women, Energy and Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is an equitable, empowering, environmentally sound, economically viable process of growth. Energy is the key indicator of sustainable development. About 74% of the population of India live in rural areas. 80% of their energy needs are derived from biomass. About 92% of this energy is consumed in cooking activity. Women play a major role in biofuel management.
Rural women’s perspective in sustainable development is therefore critical. Declining biofuel resources, poor quality of the available biofuels and inefficient devices have pushed women into greater hardships. This paper examines the role of rural women in biomass management. The energy resources that rural women use, the strategy that the government and other organisations have adopted to alleviate rural energy problems and how these strategies have benefited women and improved their quality of life, the importance of incorporating the concept of
‘‘gender and development’’ in alternative energy strategies to achieve the objectives of sustainable development are discussed in this paper.