Energy, gender and development: what are the linkages? Where is the evidence?
This report reviews the literature on the links between energy access, welfare, and gender in order to provide evidence on where gender considerations in the energy sector matter and how they might be addressed. Prepared as a background document for the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development, and part of the Social Development Department's ongoing work on gender and infrastructure, the report describes and evaluates the evidence on the links between gender and energy focusing on: increased access to wood fuel through planting of trees and forest management; improved cooking technologies; and access to electricity and motive energy. The report's main finding is that energy interventions can have significant gender benefits, which can be realised via careful design and targeting of interventions based on a context-specific understanding of energy scarcity and household decision-making, in particular how women's preferences, opportunity cost of time, and welfare are reflected in household energy decisions. The report focuses on the academic peer-reviewed literature and, although it applies fairly inclusive screening criteria when selecting the evidence to consider, finds that the evidence on many of the energy-gender linkages is often limited. There is thus a clear need for studies to evaluate interventions and identify key design elements for gender-sensitive project design.