Global Resources

Generating opportunities: case studies on energy and women

Author: S. Misana, G.V. Karlsson
Publisher: United Nations Development Programme
Publication Date: Jan 2001
Energy poverty is a problem that has a disproportionate effect on women and girls, especially in rural areas. Many women in developing countries have to spend long hours gathering fuel and hauling water, using their own energy to carry heavy loads over long distances. As fuel wood becomes scarce due to over-harvesting, land clearing, or environmental degradation, many women are forced to travel further in search of fuel. Besides exhaustion and lost opportunities in terms of education and income-generation, women suffer from numerous health problems related to gathering and transporting fuel, and from cooking over poorly ventilated indoor fires. This collection of eight case studies looks at new approaches to the use of energy as a means of addressing both poverty alleviation and the advancement of women. It argues that pro-women energy policies are desperately needed, including policies which promote the availability of lighting in the home to increase female educational attainment and enhance opportunities for income-generating activities; and policies that support improved technologies and energy-efficient equipment for use by women.