Women must take center stage in energy policies and investments

On International Women’s Day ENERGIA calls for women to be at the heart of energy policies and investments. Watch the video or read the full text below.

Sheila Oparaocha, ENERGIA International coordinator and programme manager said:

As the world celebrates women on International Women’s Day, we at ENERGIA want to highlight a critical aspect in this picture: energy access.

Energy access is critical for women’s empowerment and women are critical for scaling up energy access.

When reflecting on this year’s theme – Women in the Changing World of Work – we must not overlook the importance of energy access as input for many income generating activities, such as women-led business enterprises. We have been emphasizing ever since the establishment of ENERGIA that energy access is critical for women’s empowerment — and women are critical for scaling up energy access. They know what technologies work best for them and can therefore make a better case for their adoption to other women. Women also have extended networks in their communities and can tap into the markets that men alone could not reach. And, including women in all levels of the energy supply chain will lead to better suited policies, products and services.

Based on the realization that there is this tremendous untapped potential, one of the things we do at ENERGIA is to distribute clean energy technologies, and to do so through women ran enterprises.

So — with the help of our partners in Africa and Asia — we are at the same time empowering women through the scaling up of energy access, as well as through the building of women’s capacities to establish and manage their own businesses.

Interim results of our Women’s Economic Empowerment programme are quite encouraging, and we are certain that we found an approach which could be successfully scaled up in other parts of the world.  For example, we have already exceeded the overall project target, as more than 4,000 women have started running micro and small enterprises. Together, they have sold around 275,000 energy products, which have been improving the lives of over 1.3  million  consumers in some of the most economically deprived areas of the world in Nepal, Indonesia, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria.

Based on our research and experience, we would like to appeal to national governments, multilateral organizations, donors, investors and everyone else with the power to make a difference:

Make sure that women are at the heart of energy policies and investments. This area truly holds tremendous potential to empower women and make the world a better place for everyone.

Learn more about how we have been changing gender dynamics through energy access and economic empowerment.