Energy like any other resource is also gendered. Women and men have different interests and derive different benefits from its availability, use and management. The social understanding of various dimensions of energy including lack of electricity, cooking in dark, indoor air pollution from traditional fuels for cooking and lighting; a gender analysis of access, control and use is essential. This gender dimension which is attached with availability of energy has been generally ignored in energy policy.
The repercussions of lack of reliable sources of clean energy falls greatly on women and children of the rural households. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.6 million people mostly women and children who are exposed to smoke from open fire die annually from indoor air pollution, India alone accounts for 25% of such deaths.
Women cook meals using firework, cow dung and kerosene and they have to bear the smoke emitted from it. Kerosene lamps are also used for lighting the households. Women cannot take up any income generated activity because they have to do all the household chores during the day time. Also kerosene lamps can lead to accidental burns. To prepare meal for the family is a struggle for most of the women in rural India with such adverse conditions. Although women are major stakeholders of energy, most of the strategies of community engagements around energy accessibility and management are men centric and women have been reduced to mere end users. Energy programmers can become more effective if women are taken into consideration because they are the ones who are handling the energy resources at home.
Reduced drudgery for women and increased access to non-polluting power for lighting, cooking, and other household and productive purposes can have dramatic effects on women’s levels of empowerment, education, literacy, nutrition, health, economic opportunities, and involvement in community activities. These improvements in women’s lives can, in turn, have significant beneficial consequences for their families and communities.
Clean and affordable energy is hence elementary to one’s quality of life as well as for ensuring socio-economic development. Gender friendly technologies like LPG, improved cook stoves, solar lanterns can empower women in many ways.
Listed below are some of the gender friendly technologies
Source: Portal Content Team