Virtual Workshop: Energy Access through a Gender Lens
The impacts of energy poverty and the solutions to addressing it must be understood through the lens of gender. Women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) often bear the costs of fuel collection, inefficient cookstoves, household air pollution, and low access to labor-saving appliances because they spend more time doing domestic labor and taking care of children and other family members. While women may desire technologies that lessen those burdens, they also may have low access to capital, little power within the household, and lack information. Men, who commonly have greater bargaining power, may make different technology choices, thereby leading to misalignment between the goals of energy poverty alleviation policy and real-world outcomes.
These household differences impact efforts to promote efficient cookstoves and electric appliances that reduce household drudgery (e.g., washing machines, ovens and induction stoves, kettles), or even decisions around how lights, televisions, and mobile phones should be used. The gendered and intrahousehold impacts of interventions, and the way that gender and intrahousehold dynamics moderate the effect of interventions, remain major research gaps (Jeuland et al. 2019). We aim to build capacity for cutting-edge gender research on energy access and energy poverty in LMICs, to better deliver on both SDG5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls) and SDG7 (access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).
With this goal in mind, this workshop aims to:
• Identify the right questions: Engage with practitioners and organizations operating at different levels in the energy access domain to inform the creation of a research agenda that is grounded in real needs for evidence on questions of high relevance for improved energy poverty programming and policymaking.
• Engage with existing frameworks, methods, and findings: Hear from experts working on theoretical and methodological aspects in other domains where gender has been studied over a long period of time (e.g., in the context of health and nutrition interventions, vulnerability to gender-based violence, effectiveness of cash transfer programs, etc.). Present a white paper developed in preparation for this workshop on findings from the gender-energy literature.
• Improve approaches to studying gender in the energy access context: Quantitative research on gender often relies on simplifications and short-cuts that are problematic for both interpretation of results and for seeking solutions (for example, interpreting the effects of dummy variables that control for gender of household head in models).
• Ideate: Brainstorm and develop a set of research ideas and takeaways – for incorporation into a revised white paper and into new proposals – that responds to the issues raised by the practitioner and policy community and fills critical research gaps related to energy and gender.
The workshop will unfold over two days, coordinated at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and with all other participants connecting via Zoom.
LATEST AGENDA: Agenda for SETI-WinEED workshop v8