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How to Engender Energy Policy
How to Engender Energy Policy
A Technical Briefing Paper
prepared for ENERGIA
Joy Clancy and Mariëlle Feenstra
Department of Technology and Sustainable Development,
Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy
Faculty of Management and Governance
University of Twente, The Netherlands
December 2006
How to Engender Energy Policy
This paper is one of a series of technical background briefing papers prepared on behalf of
ENERGIA, the international network on gender and sustainable energy. These papers have
been used as the basis for developing training material for use within the capacity building
programme: The Gender Face of Energy. This particular paper provides the source material
for Module 3: Engendering Energy Policy.
The underlying material for the paper is the Masters thesis for the University of Twente
written by Mariëlle Feenstra which involved field work in South Africa and Uganda.
The authors would like to thank ENERGIA for the financial support to prepare the paper.
How to Engender Energy Policy
This paper argues that energy policy is gender blind, and explains the causes of this
inadvertent discrimination against women whose needs are neglected. These causes lie in
women’s lack of influence in society in general and a lack of awareness amongst energy
policymakers and implementers. The latter can be overcome by increasing awareness of
gender issues while the former requires transformative processes in society as a whole.
The paper is aimed at those who wish to engender energy policy at the national level. It starts
by describing the policymaking process as a simple linear stepwise model which finishes
with a feedback loop to create a cyclic process. However, it explains that, in reality,
policymaking is more chaotic and complex. A range of actors try to influence the process
which creates opportunities for gender advocates.
The paper discusses the potential general content of a gender-aware energy policy, using a
four-by-three matrix with the four general elements of policy (political, environmental,
economic and social) along one axis, and with specific characteristics that encompass gender-
based energy needs (availability, affordability and safety) along the other.
The process of engendering policy is broken down into three phases. Phase I can be seen as a
preliminary stage which creates the enabling conditions for engendering the energy policy.
These conditions are identified as: participatory planning, gender methodology, legislation on
gender equality, political commitment, institutional support and financial commitment. These
conditions are often formulated outside of the energy sector.
It is recognized that it may be possible to create a gender-aware energy policy without all of
these conditions being present in the policymaking arena, although, the process may be
slower. The second phase is the actual formulation phase and the five elements required for
the creation of a gender-aware energy policy are identified as: gender-disaggregated data,
gender-mainstreaming, participation, recognition of gender energy needs and integrated
energy planning. These elements build on those of Phase I and again engendered policy could
be created without all of them being present. Phase III is the implementation stage where
monitoring and evaluation are required to track progress towards the goals and the
identification of new issues requiring policy initiatives.
The motivation of different actors involved in policymaking and implementation need to be
explicit to prevent misunderstandings and a smoother implementation process. Five types of
motivation related to gender can be identified: welfare, empowerment, equality/equity,
efficiency and anti-poverty.
How to Engender Energy Policy
Acronym list
CBO Community-Based Organisation
CEDAW Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
CSD Commission on Sustainable Development
DFID Department for International Development
ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy
LPG Liquefied Petroleum Gas
MDG Millennium Development Goal
NGO Non-governmental Organisation
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PV Photovoltaic
SIDA Swedish International Development Agency
UK United Kingdom
UNIFEM The United Nations Development Fund for Women
How to Engender Energy Policy
Table of Contents
Acronym list................................................................................................................................4
Table of Contents........................................................................................................................5
1 Introduction............................................................................................................................6
1.1 What would we expect from a gender-aware energy policy? ........................................8
1.2 Why is energy policy gender-blind?.............................................................................10
1.3 What can be done to create gender-aware energy policy?...........................................12
2 The Policymaking Process...................................................................................................13
2.1 What is policy?.............................................................................................................14
2.2 How is policy made in theory?.....................................................................................15
2.3 How is policy made in practice?...................................................................................17
2.4 Implementing policy.....................................................................................................19
2.5 How do issues get translated into policy? ....................................................................22
2.6 Influencing policymaking.............................................................................................25
3 Elements of a gender-aware energy policy..........................................................................30
4 Towards developing and implementing a gender-aware energy policy...............................34
4.1 Phase 1: The Enabling Conditions for Engendering Energy Policy.............................36
4.2 Phase 2: The Formulation Process towards realizing a Gender-aware Energy Policy.38
4.3 Phase III: Implementation............................................................................................40
4.4 What motivates people to engender energy policy?.....................................................42
5 Discussion and Conclusions.................................................................................................43
6 Acknowledgements..............................................................................................................44
7 References............................................................................................................................44
How to Engender Energy Policy
How to Engender Energy Policy
Joy Clancy and Mariëlle Feenstra,
Department of Technology and Sustainable Development,
Centre for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy
Faculty of Management and Governance
University of Twente, The Netherlands
1 Introduction
The international development agencies and the Northern donor countries are currently using
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as their short- to medium-term framework for
addressing issues of poverty in the South (United Nations, 2002). Although not specifically
mentioned in these goals, energy is central to sustainable human development. Annecke
(1999) points out that, at the local and national levels, a reliable energy supply is recognised as
being essential for economic stability and growth, jobs and improved living standards. Indeed,
the UK’s Department for International Development has been active in promoting the role of
energy in reaching the MDGs (Department for International Development, 2002a). Havet
(2003) has taken the analysis a step further and suggested how gender and energy could be
incorporated into the MDGs.
Nevertheless, despite the recognition of the role energy plays in development, according to
statistics of the World Bank (2000, p.2), approximately 2 billion people in the world still lack
access to energy services.1 However, access to energy is not only constrained by physical
shortages, it is also differentiated by power relations vested in a variety of social constructions
including gender2. Between men and women, the distribution of, and the power over, energy
services is not equal and this reflects the general situation within and between households in
respect of resources. The gendered division of labour also means that men and women have
different energy needs, for example, when assessing energy technologies for water pumping
women would look for technologies which match drinking water needs whereas men would
1 Annecke (1999) defines energy services as including lighting, cooking, heating and cooling, pumping water
sterilisation, refrigeration, transportation, communication and power for productive purposes. The delivery
of these services begins with the collection of primary energy, which is converted one or more times until it
is in a form suitable for the user.
2 Gender is a concept related to the tasks, roles, obligations and privileges in the public and private life of
women and men as well as the relationships between them. “Gender” is not the same as “sex”. The latter is
determined by biology, whereas the former is shaped by society.
How to Engender Energy Policy
look for technologies which can provide sufficient water for irrigating crops. Women and men
have different perceptions of the benefits of energy; for example, a research study on the
gender-related impact of micro-hydro in Sri Lanka found that men saw the benefits of
electricity in terms of leisure, quality of life and education for their children; while women
saw electricity as providing the means for reducing their workload, improving health and
reducing expenditure (Dhanapala (1995) quoted in Barnet, 2000).
Policymakers do not generally recognise the existence of gender needs in energy services and,
as a consequence, women’s energy needs tend to be marginalised in policy documents
(Clancy, 2000). Energy planning is implemented in a gender-neutral way, in other words it is
assumed that energy policies benefit women and men equally. What we find in reality is that
energy planning is gender-blind, that it fails to recognise that needs of men and women are
different. Such a planning approach misses issues that are relevant to women and
inadvertently discriminates, usually against women3. For example, a policy that promoted the
use of electricity by small enterprises neglected the fact that many of women’s traditional
income-generating activities use process heat (such as food preparation and processing, beer
brewing and pottery) (Woroniuk and Schalkwyk, 1998) for which electricity is not the
cheapest option. A more gender-aware policy for small enterprises would promote a form of
energy that is more compatible with process heat generation: for example, effective
distribution networks for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) (Karlsson, 2003).
Women and men have begun to advocate the need to engender energy policy (see, for
example, Annecke, 2003) although this process has primarily taken place at the international
level. The need now is to move this process to the national level to see how national energy
policies can be engendered. In this context, there has been some progress in Uganda, South
Africa (Feenstra, 2002) and Botswana (Nozipho Wright, personal communication, 2004).
This paper looks at the process of policy formulation with the aim of assisting those who wish
to influence the development of a more gender-sensitive energy policy at the national level.
The remainder of Section 1 looks at what we would expect to gain from a gender-aware
energy policy, it explains why energy policy is gender blind and how it can be made more
gender aware. Section 2 describes the general process of policy formulation while Sections 3
and 4 look at the conditions necessary to achieve an engendered energy policy.
3 This situation arises because it is usually men’s voices that are heard in data-gathering exercises related to
How to Engender Energy Policy
1.1 What would we expect from a gender-aware energy policy?
As was indicated in the introduction, the energy sector has been a tool of economic growth.
Economic growth has depended on increased energy inputs (The Institute of Development
Studies, 2003). An emphasis, through budget allocation, has been given to supplying large-
scale industry and commercial agriculture with fossil fuels (coal, petrol and diesel) and
electricity to fuel production processes and transport goods. In the South, investment policy in
the energy sector since the end of colonialism has been driven by donor assistance, although
this has declined significantly since the mid-1980s. Investment in electricity generation plant
has been a particular focus of donor funding. In part, these funds were also used to benefit
Northern industries and to create highly visible symbols of political alliances during the so-
called Cold War period. However, Southern governments also saw power stations as symbols
of desirable modernity. Bangladesh went as far as to make access to electricity a
constitutional right (Constitution of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 1996). Despite the
investments, as we pointed out in the introduction, large sections of populations in the South
remain unconnected to modern energy systems4. These populations with little access to
modern energy consist mainly of the poor in rural and urban areas who earn their living
through small-scale, often at the subsistence level, farming systems and petty trading relying
on human effort or draught animals and production systems reliant on process heat supplied by
biomass5. The first expectation of an energy policy would be that it recognises the dual
economy both in terms of the nature of production and the forms and scales of energy needs.
In the 1990s, there was a change in the language of development: “Economic growth” has
been replaced by “poverty reduction” (The Institute of Development Studies, 2003).
‘Strategies for Poverty Reduction’ and ‘meeting the Millennium Development Goals’ are now
driving policies. Energy use is implicit in meeting these policies, not so much in terms of fuel
supply but in terms of the services energy can provide (e.g. lighting for schools, fridges for
4 Modern energy can be defined as electricity and energy forms derived from fossil fuels (such as coal, natural
gas, kerosene, LPG, diesel and petrol). Usually modern energy forms are considered cleaner and more
convenient to use than traditional fuels derived from biomass (see footnote 5 for definition of biomass). A
significant aspect of convenience is that there are well established delivery systems bringing the energy from
the point of production to the end-user. Modern energy is usually purchased and hence is sometimes called
“commercial energy”. An energy system can be defined as an integrated system of production, transformation
and delivery of a fuel to the end-user. The system can extend across international boundaries.
5 Biomass consists of materials derived from plants which can be used as fuels such as wood, charcoal and
agricultural residues. These fuels are usually collected for free by the end-user although in urban areas and in
some rural areas where there are shortages, biomass fuels can be a commercialised.
How to Engender Energy Policy
hospitals, pumping for drinking water). These demands are coming from sectors other than
large-scale industry and require new approaches from energy sector planners. We can
therefore say that a second expectation of an energy policy is that it should react to these new
requirements and take a more demand side approach by looking at the needs of all of its clients
instead of only a segment. First, energy sector planners need to understand the causes of
poverty and then they require an understanding of how energy can contribute to addressing the
causes of poverty. This approach would help raise awareness of the need to take gender into
account. The Institute of Development Studies (2003: 13) points out that:
Work on poverty has increasingly recognized that the social processes and
trajectories by which people fall into poverty are differentiated by gender. That
is, poor women and poor men do not necessarily become poor in the same ways
through the same processes. They also have different capacities for
One important social difference between men and women, which permits for different
strategies for moving out of poverty, is that men are not usually socially constrained from
leaving the family home to seek work in other places whereas women are. As a consequence,
women are left behind to take over new responsibilities, including food production, on top of
their existing tasks of managing the household. Despite this, conventional household surveys
tend only to consult the head of the household who is generally acknowledged, both legally
and culturally, to be male. Even when women are de facto the household head, they may be
culturally constrained from making major financial decisions without consulting their (absent)
An engendered energy policy would recognise that women and men have different energy
dynamics (roles in the household, decision-making areas, energy needs, responses to crises
and coping mechanisms). Having recognised this, a gender-aware energy policy would make
available energy technologies and services that match such dynamics (Dutta, 2003), as well as
employing appropriate policy instruments (such as taxation) to provide an enabling
environment (for a more detailed discussion of enabling environments see Section 4).
6 Rules and regulations may also prevent women’s access to modern energy carriers. In Bangladesh, the Rural
Electrification Board does not generally accept an application from a married woman (ENERGIA, 2004.).
How to Engender Energy Policy
1.2 Why is energy policy gender-blind?
There are two major factors which influence the gender-blindness of energy policy: women’s
social position and the attitude of energy institutions to gender issues. These two factors are of
course linked. Women’s control over their own lives is generally less than that of men; men
tend to dominate decision-making within households, in communities and in organisations.
Policymakers tend to be men, and energy institutions and organisations both in the public and
private sectors, as well as civil society7 (such as NGOs dealing with energy), tend to be male
dominated, particularly when it comes to professional posts. Similarly, the large-scale
industries and agriculture, which are important energy customers for utilities, are also
dominated by men in the senior positions. This male-dominated structure results in men
talking to men about energy issues. As a consequence, the forums where issues are identified,
and any potential solutions proposed, tend to have an inadvertent male bias.
Women are universally under-represented in political decision-making bodies at the
international, national and local levels. However, recently, women have held posts as Minister
of Energy, for example in Zambia, South Africa, Uganda and Botswana. In International
Development Agencies, at the beginning of the new millennium, women have headed two
departments with significant energy portfolios. Where women hold such positions, gender
tends to have a higher profile in energy policy formulation and implementation. Within
energy utilities, women are in the numerical minority and rarely in senior or technical
positions. In part, this can be attributed to the small numbers of women graduating with
qualifications appropriate for a career in the energy sector such as degrees in science and
engineering. Data from Nigeria, where the oil sector is an important employer, shows that in
1997-98 the number of women, compared to men, graduating in engineering and technology
was 39:424 and in sciences 164: 655 (Maduka, 2004). These figures are representative of the
1990s in Nigeria and they are not untypical for developing countries in general. However,
perhaps it is not only that the numbers of women in influential positions in energy institutions
need to change but that also the men have to become more gender sensitive.
Based on experiences in other sectors, such as forestry and health, it could be expected that
local level organisations operating with participatory approaches might be more inclined to
7 There is no universally agreed definition of the term civil society. However, an idea of the notions underlying
the term can be gained from the definition by Jørgensen (1996: 36): organised activities by groups or
individuals either performing certain services or trying to influence and improve society as a whole, but are
not part of government or business.
How to Engender Energy Policy
reflect gender needs in energy. However, at the local level, participatory approaches by
governments in energy planning are not the norm although India offers an interesting model
for opening up this opportunity. A recent change in the law in India has enabled local village
planning committees (panchyat) to initiate energy planning activities and there is a legal quota
for women in the panchyat membership. While this opens up the prospect for village level
energy planning to have a more gender-aware approach, women’s ability to influence
decision-making will require the skills to participate in such activities as well as men’s
willingness to allow them the space to contribute. In other words, gender roles8 and relations9
can still prove a barrier to women’s participation.
As a consequence of the lack of women’s influence in decision-making, the sorts of issues that
tend to enter the public arena, and hence form the basis of policy responses, are men’s issues
(for example, the need for irrigation pumps), whereas women’s issues (for example, the need
for drinking water) are overlooked. Women can increase their influence within the household
and community by improving their economic status. However, women’s income generation
activities tend to lie in the informal sector and do not lead to large cash surpluses. Although
women’s contributions to household incomes can be significant, in some circumstances they
do not even gain control over major purchases (Clancy, 2002). Their enterprises are hindered
by a lack of access to information and time constraints, as well as cultural restrictions, for
example on mobility, which can prevent their participation in training which would improve
their skills. In addition, this “invisibility” to officialdom means that another potential conduit
between women and those involved in policymaking is constrained. In short, women lack
both a formal voice in the community and an informal voice through participation in the
various institutions and organisations linked to the energy sector.
It is fair to say that these problems are not exclusive to the energy sector, nor are they caused
by the energy sector. What they represent is the manifestation of wider issues related to
political ideology, culture and tradition. Action to change women’s social status, as well as
8 Gender roles are defined as the roles assigned to men and women by the society in which they live. These
roles are linked to certain rights and obligations based on cooperation and support.
9 Gender relations are the personal and social interactions between men and women. As with gender roles (see
footnote 8), gender relations are determined by the society in which people live. Within a household, men and
women are able to negotiate to some extent the manner of these interactions but this is not a negotiation
between equals since men generally have more power than women to make decisions about, and exercise
control over, their own lives and resources. This balance of power between men and women defines the
relationship between the genders.
How to Engender Energy Policy
empowering disadvantaged groups in general, so that they have a greater control over their
lives will also result in transformations in the energy sector. Likewise, action in the energy
sector, for example by creating and implementing a more gender-aware energy policy, will
contribute to the wider goal of women’s empowerment.
1.3 What can be done to create gender-aware energy policy?
It is not inevitable that energy policy will exclude gender issues. An engendered policy can be
achieved through a strategy of gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is an approach
that ensures that the concerns and needs of both women and men are considered in all
planning and policymaking, and that all policymakers are aware of the needs of women and
men in relation to their roles and responsibilities (Feenstra, 2004). However, an engendered
energy policy is more than a set of gender-sensitive energy-related goals and indicators. The
actual process of policy formulation and implementation is also part of engendering the policy.
Energy institutions need to become more gender-aware and incorporate gender as an integral
part of policy and practice. An increased participation of women in the energy sector and an
improvement in their status relative to men can also be regarded as a dimension of an
engendered energy policy. However, this does not automatically guarantee gender-sensitive
policy goals or the implementation of such a policy.
Among the reasons for the lack of an energy policy which gives due weight to women’s
energy needs is the lack of awareness amongst energy policymakers and decision-makers.
Their capacity has to be developed in terms of methodologies and tools for gender
mainstreaming10. Although it should be noted that such tools need further development and
standardisation in the energy sector, Table 1 identifies the needs in terms of attitudes and
approaches for various actors in the energy sector and the mechanisms that can be used to
build their capacity for gender mainstreaming.
10 Developing tools and methodologies for engendering energy policy are currently part of the TIE-ENERGIA
project (
How to Engender Energy Policy
Table 1. Capacity Building Needs for Mainstreaming Gender in Energy (Karlsson and Clancy,
Target Group Capacity building need Means
policymakers Sensitisation towards gender issues
Openness to trying out new methods and
Willingness to make space and strengthen
women staff in organisation’s set-up
Advocacy through sharp
media and print messages
Well structured and focused
interaction with researchers
and NGOs
Human Resources policy to
encourage and support
women’s advancement
Implementers of
Sensitisation towards gender issues
Practical tools and techniques to
incorporate women’s role in planning
Field level workshops in
local language
Exchange visits and
interaction with local
organisations working on
gender issues
Create a dialogue with
gender and community
development specialists
communities For men, sensitisation and assurance that
women can meaningfully participate in
programmes while respecting their
traditionally accepted space and roles
Willingness to participate in the social
empowerment process of women
Exposure visits
Focus group discussions
NGOs Tools and techniques to incorporate
women’s role in planning orientation
towards new methodologies
Local level workshops
Interaction with researchers
and policymakers
Using tools developed by
2 The Policymaking Process
In order to engender energy policy, we need to understand how the process of policymaking
works so that we can successfully influence the outcomes. This section assumes the existence
of some form of democratic process with a range of civil society actors involved in the
selection of a government and its policies.
How to Engender Energy Policy
2.1 What is policy?
Policy11 is a statement of intent or commitment to act in a certain way by an organisation, in terms
of this paper, the government. For example, conventional energy policy has focused on technical
issues related to security of supply, such as choices related to optimising the fuel supply mix and
determining the proportion of demand to be met by electricity, coal, oil and gas. However, a
government may decide to up-date this approach by incorporating an end-user perspective in its
policy and consider the sort of energy services that women and men want. Policy provides the
framework for the distribution of, access to and control over public resources to address an
identified issue in line with the values and principles of the government. Policy determines
choices and priorities, such as whether to improve fossil fuel distribution through public and/or
private sector investment or to promote the use of small-scale renewable energy systems through
financial instruments such as subsidies. Policy can also set out organisational practice, for
example by signalling an intention to allow greater community participation in owning and
managing energy services which could open new opportunities for women. The policy
framework gives guidance to planners on how to implement policy.
Policy exists in a variety of forms which may, or may not, be explicit and transparent, for
example policy can be a written statement, a published circular or a verbal instruction from a
Minister. If a government is intending to introduce legislation on a particular issue it may
publish a consultation document setting out its policy position12. When the government has
finalised its policy intentions and intends to enact legislation it can issue a document which
sets out its plans in more detail.13 Certain types of policy require authorisation by a country’s
legislative assembly in order to give specific actions legal status. Generally, the privatisation
of publicly-owned electricity utilities would require such legislation whereas a stoves
programme would not.
Policy is generally set out as objective, neutral and value-free, and is often phrased in legal or
scientific language to emphasise its rationality and objectivity. However, feminists and others
campaigning for social justice have challenged this view of policy, in particular in relation to
the assumed gender neutrality of policies. For example, it is argued that the privatisation of the
state-owned electricity company will bring a more reliable service. However, the privatisation
11 Policy is not something limited to governments. Any organisation can have a policy.
12 Under the British Parliamentary System, on which many countries base their own system of government, this
consultation document is known as a Green Paper.
13 Under the British Parliamentary System, this document is known as a White Paper.
How to Engender Energy Policy
of utilities has often been accompanied with tariff reform and, if this means price increases,
men and women will be affected in different ways due to gender differences in access to and
control over resources.
2.2 How is policy made in theory?
Policymaking and its implementation can be viewed as a stepwise process: Figure 1 represents
one model of this process14. The model has five steps and includes examples of the types of
questions that need to be addressed in each step.
Figure 1: A Model of the Policymaking Process
(Source: SEAGA, 1997)
Defining the Issue
1. The problem: what is the development need?
2. Diagnosis of the problem: why does it exist?
3. What is the development goal?
Examining Policy Alternatives
4. What are the alternative routes to the development goal?
5. What is the feasibility of each option?
6. What are the potential impacts on women and other
disadvantaged social groups?
Making Policy Choices
7. Which option is the best choice in terms of the social and
economic goals?
8. Is that option politically feasible?
Implementing Policies
9. Who is responsible for implementing the chosen policy?
10. What is the plan for implementation?
Monitoring and Evaluation
11. How will policy implementation/results be monitored?
12. How will this information be fed into the next round of
development planning?
14 It should be noted that other models exist. Indeed, even the concept of a linear model is contested (Stone,
Maxwell and Keating, 2001). However, the linear model is presented here because it helps identify in a clear
manner the elements in the policymaking process.
How to Engender Energy Policy
In each step of the process, policymakers need to specifically address how their decisions will
differentially impact on the various subgroups of the population. This requires the use of
datasets which can be disaggregated by sex and other social and economic variables (for
example, who is using what form of energy to do what?).
Monitoring and evaluation can identify further issues which require policy development or
modification. For example, a policy to enable the provision of decentralised energy services
could be promoted as allowing women and men increased income-generating opportunities
through the provision of these services. However, monitoring of this policy might reveal that
the uptake by women is less than by men because women lack capital and surety (such as land
title deeds) which would enable them to access formal sources of finance for business start-
ups. New policies could then be introduced to overcome these barriers. It should be noted
that problems that manifest themselves in the energy sector, such as women not being able to
purchase energy equipment due to a lack of access to credit, may have solutions in other
It is this responding to issues that emerge from monitoring and evaluation with new policy
initiatives that results in policymaking being seen as a cyclical process.
The process outlined above is somewhat idealised. It assumes that policymakers consult
widely with various stakeholders in society to identify issues and discuss the options, together
with their advantages and disadvantages, that could address these issues. We would like to
think that decision-makers will be persuaded by the most accurate or scientifically plausible
option, and that all stakeholders’ views are given equal value. However, as was explained in
Section 1.2, women have less “voice” in policymaking than men. Gender is not the only
variable to influence access to policymaking processes. Other social variables, such as caste,
ethnicity, religion and economic status also play a role. It should also not be forgotten that
women do not form a homogeneous group, and that these other social characteristics cut
across gender roles. Thus, some women could be better placed than other women to influence
policy formulation processes, for example women from higher income groups might have
more influence than women from lower income groups. The former might also have more
influence than men from lower income groups, but in all probability, the women would still be
in a subordinate position to men from their own group. Much depends on context.
How to Engender Energy Policy
2.3 How is policy made in practice?
Unfortunately, in the real world, policy is not made in the logical way described in the last
section. In practice, the process tends to be chaotic rather than linear and represents a power
struggle between various interest groups. Policymakers are human beings with a range of
motives from wanting to do good, to being concerned about keeping their jobs. They choose
policies which are compromises that are acceptable in the face of competing demands and
conform to the policymakers own objectives and motivations. They tend to focus on the short
term and avoid painful choices.
Policy choices are subject to a range of influences. Sometimes the influence can be public
demand expressed through the media or on the streets; sometimes the influences can be
through small but powerful groups of actors close to the centre of government, such as
government party members, big business or landowners, trade unions, financial institutions,
religious leaders, international agencies and donors. Civil society organisations, such as
NGOs, also try to influence policy through advocacy activities. Policymaking can therefore be
seen as part of a power struggle for political influence between different actors, with the most
powerful (but not necessarily the most numerous) often having the most influence. Political
influence is dynamic; different groups are more powerful at specific points in time and their
influence varies across sectors.
Policy in a specific sector is also shaped by factors within the wider economy and other
government policies (macro-level factors). For example, energy policy can be shaped to
ensure that the energy supply to important industry is secure, or it can be asked to serve social
goals, as in South Africa where the Government is committed to universal access to electricity
(Department of Minerals and Energy, 1998: 48). Policy should also be shaped in response to
the needs of the ordinary citizen (micro-level influences). However, every citizen has multiple
identities, as a household member, household head, entrepreneur, farmer, community leader
and so forth, which are, in turn, graduated by socioeconomic factors such as gender, age,
marital status, caste systems, ethnicity and income. Each identity has its own energy needs. In
the past, energy policy as formulated by governments has not paid close attention to these
differentiated needs. These energy needs are often articulated by the stakeholders and their
representative organisations, referred to in the previous paragraph, which form an intermediary
How to Engender Energy Policy
(or meso-) level between the citizen and the government. These organisations are shaped by
institutions, namely the formal and informal rules which govern all human interactions.
Examples of formal rules are laws, statutes, agreements and contracts. Examples of informal
rules are social conventions and codes of behaviour, such as those governing gender roles and
Policymaking is also influenced by external factors such as increases in oil prices and signing
up to international agreements such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Kyoto Protocol,
and by external organisations, such as the World Bank and UNIFEM.
Policymakers’ capacity to make policy is influenced by their skills, values and cultural
identities. Their knowledge and information has limitations (you cannot know everything!),
which affects their decision-making capabilities but also opens up opportunities for outsiders
to contribute to and to influence the policy development process. Important questions when
trying to understand or influence policymaking are: who are these outsiders?, how
accountable are they for their work?, who are they accountable to? Given the low
participation of women in political processes, these “outsiders” will in all probability be men.
In the energy sector, there are few women with technical expertise, and men and women with
gender expertise are even rarer. James (1999) believes that this lack of technical knowledge
by women in South Africa was a contributing factor to women having a lack of influence over
the first post-apartheid Energy White Paper.
The lack of knowledge by policymakers, and their desire for solutions to be delivered quickly,
does open up opportunities for advocates and lobbyists to influence the outcomes of
policymaking and implementation processes by providing timely and appropriate inputs (see
below for suggestions on how to do this). To paraphrase George Orwell15: some stakeholders
are more powerful than others and exert a greater influence over policymaking than other
stakeholders. For example, in the energy sector, the World Bank has been more influential in
pressing for the privatisation of utilities than many indigenous stakeholder groups have been in
resisting such policy changes for a variety of reasons (e.g., loss of national sovereignty and
loss of jobs). The lack of women’s influence on policymaking is the very reason for this
15 “Some animals are more equal than others”; George Orwell, Animal Farm.
How to Engender Energy Policy
One of the reasons that the ideal policymaking process as described above (Section 2.2) does
not occur in practice is that it consumes time and resources. To keep costs down,
policymakers shorten the process, for example by not considering all options (such as opting
for grid extension without evaluating stand-alone options) or by avoiding extensive research
involving detailed data gathering. They often seek the advice of policy advisors. How are
these advisors appointed? Who are they accountable to? These are very important questions in
a democracy. From a gender perspective, we are also concerned whether women’s voices will
be heard, as well as men’s, as advisors.
2.4 Implementing policy
The implementation phase includes the translation of policy into workable details including
the formulation of laws, regulations and programmes, and then the operationalisation of these
The implementation process is (at least in theory) interactive and so requires the participation
of key stakeholders, consensus building, conflict resolution, compromise, contingency
planning, resource mobilisation and adaptation if the written policy is to be accurately
reflected in what is implemented. The people who implement policy are rarely the people who
write it, although some may have played a role in the formulation processes - the
responsibility for implementation lies elsewhere in the state structure. The first line of policy
implementers are civil servants. In practice, implementation is top-down and organisations at
the meso-level play an important role in this process.
Politicians do intervene in the implementation process, often driven by electoral
considerations. There is a danger that when politicians do this, they may “cherry pick”, that is
they treat a proposed policy as a menu from which they choose the bits that they like (or
please their electorate) which can threaten to undermine what was designed as a package
(Matthew Wright, personal communication). As a consequence, what is implemented can be a
distortion of what was intended. A variant on this behaviour by politicians is “policy
evaporation”, when high level commitments, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, fail to be
reflected in sectoral policies (DFID, 2002).
How to Engender Energy Policy
Policy implementers are in a similar position to policymakers in terms of skills and
knowledge, and they also need to understand the goals of the policy if they are to implement it
successfully. If they are to effectively contribute to engendering energy policy they must have
the capacity to carry out gender mainstreaming. Such a capacity to understand the concepts of
gender and energy, and the tools for the implementation of gender-aware policies through
gender-aware processes, as was noted in Section 1.3, has to be developed through training.
The outcomes of policy implementation can sometimes be different to what was intended and
set out in statements. There are a number of reasons for this. There can be bureaucratic
incompetence or resistance within the administration, the civil service or other organisations
responsible for policy implementation. There may be inadequate resources allocated, or the
policy may be modified during the implementation phase. Modifications in policy result from
bargaining between pressure groups, civil servants and politicians in an attempt to influence
the nature of what is actually implemented. If policies do not achieve the objectives, blame is
not always attributed to the policy itself but rather on the failure to implement it for political
(lack of will) or managerial (poor management; lack of resources) reasons (Juma and Clarke,
1995). Further, the existence of a policy statement is no guarantee that anything will result in
practice: in other words policy is not binding.
As a consequence of the division of responsibility between policymaking and implementation,
policymakers are able to avoid taking responsibility for policy failures and can lay the blame
The policy implementation process, and its outcomes, are as important as the policymaking
process itself in engendering energy policy. As this section has explained, failures may be due
to weaknesses in the system, related to accountability and capacity, and this leads to a
requirement for monitoring of the implementation of energy policy both to ensure that any
(gender-aware) policy is being implemented in the manner intended and that it is achieving its
goals. This enables timely adjustments to be made to the implementation process. Monitoring
tracks the implementation process and helps show whether or not the process is likely to meet
its goals. Monitoring also helps to highlight any flaws in the existing policy and identify
where changes, such as new legislation or procedures, need to be introduced. Good
governments undertake monitoring as a matter of course. Other stakeholders also monitor the
implementation process for a variety of reasons, perhaps to hold governments accountable, or
How to Engender Energy Policy
to provide evidence of the positive or negative impacts of policy enabling them to lobby for
changes in the policy. Civil society especially plays an important role in monitoring when
governments have limited capacity in a particular area. This could be the case with gender
mainstreaming. However, stakeholders being involved in monitoring the implementation
process and then using the information to lobby for change, brings us back to the point made
in Section 2.3: whose voice gets heard? In other words, if you want to engender policy, the
work is not over once a gender aware energy policy has been created, the implementation
process has to be monitored to ensure that hard won gains are not watered down or even lost.
One tool that can be used in monitoring is indicators. Indicators measure changes over time of
a specific situation or condition. Gender indicators are a particular form of indicator which
monitor and evaluate changes in the situation or condition of women and men over time. They
can be used at the policy, implementation and institutional levels.
There are two categories of indicators: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative indicators
measure quantities, for example, the number of men and women who have been received
training in solar photovoltaic (PV) household lighting system operation and maintenance.
Qualitative indicators measure viewpoints, judgements and perceptions, such as how women
perceive the changes that electric light has brought to their lives (increased the hours of work
or introduced more flexibility and choice about when to do specific tasks). The two sorts of
indicators should be seen as complementary and can measure different aspects of the same
The use of gender indicators for measuring the impact of policy on women and men has grown
significantly since the Beijing Platform for Action was put in place in 1995. However, from
the literature, it would appear that the energy sector has been slow in developing gender
indicators. At the time of writing, there is some research activity linked to developing gender
and energy policy indicators, but these still need to be tested. Cecelski and her co-workers
(2001), when demonstrating how gender aspects could be successfully integrated into different
levels in the biomass energy sector in Namibia, adapted indicators from a World Bank
Participatory Learning and Action Initiative in the water sector (see Table 2).
How to Engender Energy Policy
Table 2. Example of Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Biomass Energy Conservation
Programmes (source: Cecelski et al., (2001)
Variables Indicators
A. Policy support for gender-sensitive
participation National energy policy with meeting both
men's and women's needs as an explicit goal
National sector policy for biomass energy
National biomass energy policy with meeting
both men's and women's needs as an explicit
B. Institutional support for gender-
sensitive participation Gender balance and expertise reflected in the
type of agencies involved and in individual
expertise in institutions and agencies concerned
with biomass energy conservation (BEC)
Sex-disaggregated planning and monitoring
system for BEC activities in operation
Indicative strategy on gender as reflected in
service objectives, implementation strategies
and project performance criteria in BEC
C. Gender integration at
implementation level: Stove
Number of men and women trained and
number of men and women drop-outs
Training received and skills/knowledge
acquired put into practiced by men and women
(skilled/unskilled, paid/unpaid)
Benefits from participation in the stove project
as perceived by men and women
D. Gender integration at
implementation level: Users Input to technology design by men and women
Stove purchase by men and women
Benefits from stove use as perceived by men
and women
Stove use in small business by men and women
2.5 How do issues get translated into policy?
The way policymakers view politics and society, as well as their own role in the process, is
governed by the paradigm they subscribe to. A paradigm is an overarching framework of
ideas that helps one understands the social world, to explain it and change it (Bailey et al.,
2000). The paradigm determines the problems that are addressed, as well as the policies and
instruments appropriate to resolving them. Implicit within a paradigm are basic assumptions
about the nature of the social world, how it works and about the nature of people and how they
act (world views). People have different assumptions about the same aspects of social reality,
and this leads people to view issues and problems differently. People are often not conscious
of their world view, or how they acquired it. World views are acquired as part of our
How to Engender Energy Policy
socialisation process and are shaped by the society in which we live.
Each paradigm has its own set of concepts which are used to clarify a problem or issues and to
draw attention to that issue. It is difficult to convince the adherents of one particular paradigm
of the relevance and validity of another, competing paradigm.
Paradigms are often taken for granted, can be implicit in policymaking, particularly their
underlying assumptions, and they frequently go unchallenged – although if there widespread
failures the paradigm may be called into question. Paradigms and their frameworks compete
with each other, and at different points in time various paradigms will dominate over others.
The dominant paradigm in the energy sector has been one of technological solutions, for
example, where discussions are of the type: are our electricity needs best met by centralised
large fossil fuel power stations or decentralised small scale renewable energy systems?
Paradigms change over time. When there is a change in the dominant paradigm to another it is
known as a paradigm shift. An example of a paradigm shift in policymaking is the change
from the Women in Development16 (WID) approach, which was dominant in the 1970s, to
Gender and Development17 (GAD) which emerged in the early 1980s.
Policymaking in the South also takes place within a development process. This process also
has its own set of frameworks (known as discourses), and these have their own assumptions
about the nature of development and how and why development does not follow the
prescribed path. Discourses shape certain problems, emphasising some aspects of a situation
and marginalising others. The dominant discourses set out the ways of classifying people and
defining problems, and they have serious material consequences for the process of
policymaking. Discourses simplify complex problems and they serve the interests of some
groups over others. Hence, they define the issues about which policy is made, provide the
framework in which alternatives are considered, influence the options chosen and impact on
the implementation process. Who has the “power to define”, and hence set the agenda and
16 The Women in Development approach focuses on women’s productive role with income-generating
projects, particularly improving women’s efficiency, as the main output (Khamati-Njenga and Clancy,
17 The Gender and Development (GAD) approach sees women not as passive recipients of development but,
together with men, as agents of change capable of contributing to development, as well as defining and
meeting their own needs. GAD also aims not only to meet women’s practical needs, such as food, water
and energy, but also their strategic interests in transforming gender relations (Khamati-Njenga and Clancy,
How to Engender Energy Policy
define the terms of reference etc., is a key issue in policymaking. Development policies often
identify “target groups” such as “rural poor” or “women”, although this approach has been
criticised for being “over-determinate while at the same time under-descriptive”18. In other
words, such labelling simplifies the complexity of the realities of people, their range of
interests, diversity of experience and, particularly in terms of gender, their power relations.
The “target group” is relegated to the role of a passive recipient/object of policy rather than an
active subject with ideas and personal goals of their own as well as the capacity to act. This
again is an area where feminists and others working for social justice have fought hard against
the perception of women as passive victims, for example by considering only the time cost in
collecting fuelwood due to woody biomass shortages or contesting the view that women are
inefficient cooks and so waste energy (Cecelski, 1992).
From this section, it can be seen that who formulates and writes policy is important in shaping
what is included in the policy and the way issues are addressed. The premises that policy
formulators are working from (in other words, the paradigm they subscribe to, or the discourse
that influences their thinking) are fundamental in shaping the solutions they propose.
Different Energy Ministers from the same political party, implementing the same policy, can
create different outcomes by prioritising different issues, such as when they allocate resources.
The premises underlying policy formulation are rarely articulated and are often confused,
particularly when there are competing paradigms in operation. This confused thinking can
make policy analysis complex. As we will see in Section 4.3, different stakeholders can have
different gender goals that they aim to achieve through the implementation of the same policy.
An important component of influencing policymaking is to understand the paradigms and the
discourses of policymakers so that advocacy material can be shaped in a way that it is more
easily taken up by the recipient. For example, many policymakers feel comfortable with
energy projects that would improve women’s welfare and productivity, but seem less likely to
accept projects that set out to create significant changes in gender relations. A better
understanding of the policymaking process also helps to temper frustrations trying to achieve
gender goals.
18 Wood (1985) quoted in Sutton (1999: 14).
How to Engender Energy Policy
2.6 Influencing policymaking
Policymakers are faced with hundreds of problems and issues which need to be addressed – far
more than it is possible to achieve with the capacity available within government. Which
issues get addressed (“are put on the political agenda”) is governed by processes which vary
depending on the degree of democracy and transparency in the way the government system
works. Political parties as part of their manifesto define, in broad terms, the issues they see as
important and that they will address once they are in power. Issues which have a high public
visibility (for example, electricity blackouts or petrol and diesel fuel shortages at the fuel
stations) and which large sections of the public believe to be important and expect their
politicians to do something about are the ones with a high probability of getting onto the
agenda. New issues requiring policy formulation arise from research (for example, impacts of
wood smoke on women’s health), internal or external events (for example, the Beijing
Platform for Action has increased governments’ efforts towards addressing gender issues) or
crises (such as the oil price rises of 1970s).
Sutton (1999) has identified a range of factors which often initiate policy responses, and
understanding these is important in formulating an advocacy strategy. These factors fall into
the following categories:
Data about a problem are available and are presented in such a way that the problem is
clear. However, politicians also need courses of action and priorities to be clearly
New policy initiatives, such as a gender-aware energy policy, require someone in
authority either to be sufficiently interested in the topic to initiate their own policy
development or to be open to an approach by outsiders about policy initiatives.
Consequently, those outside of government circles who wish to influence policy
development must have good links with policymakers.
To carry forward new policy initiatives requires actors with vision who do not perceive
new ideas as threats and are capable of explaining these ideas and building consensus.
Following on from the last point, networks of various actors (such as NGOs,
government, researchers, development agencies) are found to be useful in developing
How to Engender Energy Policy
links and allowing the exchange of ideas, learning lessons from practical experience
and identifying new directions. Likewise, a decision-maker who wants to develop
policy must have a good network with individuals able to respond to new policy
The opportunity to launch new policy initiatives is often shaped by external events.
Three types of scenario can be envisaged: (i) One where a general consensus exists that
the current policy is not working and it is time for a new one. The consensus for
change can be at different levels (such as Cabinet, Parliament, Regional, International,
Societal). (ii) One where a crisis develops requiring rapid and dramatic action. (iii) A
coming together of an influential figure sharing common interests with advocates who
have timely research findings to present.
An organisation that develops policy should be flexible and open to new ideas from
outside and have the capacity (including intellectual and financial resources) to
develop that policy. The organisation must have the confidence to champion their
ideas, and the authority to push them through, even when there is little support. These
requirements apply to organisations working both inside and outside the government
So how can policymaking be influenced? The extent of freedom of speech, the existence a
strong and articulate civil society and the existence/tolerance of alternative perspectives are
important prerequisites that provide all citizens with the opportunity to influence policy
development. In this sense, this paper is written with the implicit assumption that there is
some form of democratic system in operation and that opportunities exist at different stages in
the policy formulation and implementation process where interested parties can exert pressure
in a transparent way, without fear of reprisal, on politicians for change to existing policies.
Policymaking is often criticised as being “top-down” – that the intended beneficiaries are not
involved in the identification or development of what is implemented or in its implementation.
This approach has been challenged by numerous groups from the constituency known as civil
society. These groups argue for a more “bottom-up” approach to policymaking and
implementation through participatory processes. However, there is little recorded experience
How to Engender Energy Policy
of bottom-up energy planning in the literature. One of the few examples is the Rural Energy
Development Programme in Nepal which has worked at the community level using the
strategy of separate male and female community organisations to plan and benefit from micro-
hydro systems, thus ensuring equity and empowerment of both men and women (Dutta, 2003).
Influencing policy requires a well thought out advocacy strategy which addresses politicians,
opinion formers and the public. Advocacy is more than lobbying (although the two are often
confused). Lobbying is about direct communication with policymakers and implementers to
encourage them to formulate or amend policies and legislation. Advocacy uses much broader
approaches, aiming to change policies, attitudes, power relations, social relations and
institutional functioning. Changes in policy and practice in order to mainstream gender are
required at all levels: local, district, state, national and international. For example, attitudes
that assume that improved cookstoves are sufficient to meet women’s energy needs and
promote development, which are based on the misunderstanding that the rural energy problem
does not go “beyond the open fire” (Nyoni, 1997), need to be challenged to show that women
are involved within the household in other energy consuming activities than cooking, and that
women are active outside the household in productive and community activities. This
criticism should not be seen as an attack on improved cookstove programmes which do play
an important role in improving women’s and children’s health through reducing indoor air
pollution and potentially reducing the time spent on fuel collection.
An advocacy strategy requires an understanding of who policymakers are and the way they
work. Who are the decision-makers? The actors central to the policymaking process are:
Politicians (Ministers, Local Councillors, Parliamentarians)
Senior civil servants
Experts or advisors (who may or may not be government employees).
However, other actors also play a role in policy formulation. These include:
Government research institutes
Private sector research foundations
Community leaders and Community-based organisations (CBOs)
Trade Unions
NGOs (local and international)
How to Engender Energy Policy
Private sector companies
Energy utilities (private and public sector)
Academics and intellectuals
Consultants (local and international)
International development agencies
As was indicated in Section 2.3, policymakers have limited knowledge and information on
which to base their policy formulation. They are usually looking for sources of information,
and the provision of timely and appropriate material opens up an opportunity to influence
policymaking and implementation. Designing the way that information is presented, including
its language, is crucial in getting ideas, concepts etc. across. The international network on
gender and sustainable energy, ENERGIA, was successful in achieving the incorporation of
gender and energy issues in the 9th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
(CSD-9). This in part was attributed to the production of a background briefing paper19 which
simplified issues related to gender and energy (Karlsson and Oparaocha, 2003).
Ministers do not have time to read lengthy research reports. A chain of “gatekeepers” which
may include civil servants, advisors or party workers condense information for ministers and
control the flow of material reaching the minister’s desk or ears. MPs have limited time and
resources to find information and so can welcome briefings on policy issues. Civil servants
vary in their reaction to experts and advice from outside their Ministry. A way around the
written word (and gatekeepers) is to engage policymakers in debate and to inform them
through policy workshops and seminars about the need for change and the benefits it can
bring. Even if the policymaker does not attend the workshop, they can still be reached through
the media with a news item about the workshop findings and output. It should also be borne in
mind that it might be easier to access and hence influence people from the groups identified
above as themselves having influence on the policymaking process.
Many see the internet as an important medium for disseminating information. However, it
might be useful to keep in mind a finding of research for the World Bank, which found that
policymakers in the South do not view the internet as an important information source.
19 The paper can be found on: under Resources.
How to Engender Energy Policy
Discussions with colleagues and advice from experts are considered the most important,
followed by newspapers and journals (MacDonald, 2000). This means that an advocacy
strategy should include identifying the key advisors in the energy sector and targeting them
with information. Briefings for the media are also important for getting a point across.
Policymakers are not keen on implementing innovative policies – particularly if they require a
significant departure from present practice (Dror, 1984). Organisations and individuals
become more conservative as they get older and hence more resistant to change (Downs,
1967). People react negatively to change for a range of reasons, such as fear of the unknown,
lack of information, threat to status, there being no perceived benefits, fear of failure, low trust
in an organisation, strong peer group norms and bound by custom (Sutton, 1999). These are
important barriers which have to be overcome by those trying to change gender relations. The
energy sector is seen as being dominated by men aged 50 and above, with economists and
engineers being the dominant professions (Clancy, 2001). Although many economists and
engineers would accept welfare and efficiency approaches for meeting women’s energy needs,
they find meeting equality or empowerment goals through energy policy more difficult to
accept. While many are not against gender equity, these professions often do not see the
relevance of gender to their work (Christian Michelsen Institute, 1999). Some consider that
“equality of the sexes is a matter of local culture and political concern” (Skutsch, 1998: 947)
while others consider that equality objectives cannot be reached through individual projects
but only through education and social movements.
A word of warning: policymakers use information in order to make decisions to achieve their
goals and, in the process, they can distort information supplied by outsiders for their own
political ends. Engendering energy policy entails getting involved in politics and this can at
times be difficult and unpleasant. Colleagues and fellow activists who have been strong allies
at one moment can in the next moment be pushing you to the sidelines. In this regard, the
experiences of women in South Africa when writing the first post-apartheid Energy White
Paper are instructive (James, 1999 quoted in Annecke, 2000).
Those entering the advocacy arena, particularly for the first time, are advised to be well
prepared, articulate and to be strategically placed. Based on her experiences in trying to
engender the South African energy policy, Annecke (personal communication, 2004) has
offered the following advice for policy advocates:
How to Engender Energy Policy
Be clear about what you are advocating
Chose your target policymaker/decision-maker strategically
Know what s/he will read/listen to
Design the message for the recipient
Public opinion can be influenced through the media. Therefore, presenting information in a
manner to which the media will react is crucial. Short statements, with eye-catching headlines
and photos, are more likely to attract attention than thick reports. Distributing brochures and
pamphlets can be effective, and CBOs use a variety of innovative methods, such as theatre, to
inform public opinion and policy decision-makers (see for example, Sinha (2003)). Campaigns
at the local, national or international levels can influence policymakers at different levels
directly, or indirectly by influencing public opinion.
Publishing research papers can provide useful information but these tend to be addressed to
the research community. Research findings therefore need to be translated into short briefings
and phrased in language that busy people will read.
Networking can play a useful role in sharing experiences and information, particularly in the
South where access to information can be limited. Sharing information and experiences on
gender and energy was a reason for setting up ENERGIA, and this remains one of the
network’s objectives (
3 Elements of a gender-aware energy policy
A gender-aware energy policy should ensure that the energy needs and energy concerns of
both men and women are considered. Defining the elements of a gender-aware energy policy
is the first step in the mainstreaming process. The definition process involves to the analysis of
current policy, identifying its strengths and weaknesses, as well as helping to define the goals
of a gender mainstreaming process. Gender mainstreaming in the energy sector is about
transforming the existing energy agenda (Clancy, 2000).
As with any sectoral policy, energy policy has a multi-dimensional character: it contains
political, environmental, economic and social elements. Each of these elements has a gender
How to Engender Energy Policy
The political element of energy policy relates to the way in which the use, production,
provision and distribution of energy services are organised20. One of the tasks of
governments, as part of the political process, is to reconcile conflicting and converging
societal interests (Doyle and McEachern, 2001). On this basis, governments should attempt to
reconcile gender differences in the energy sector through the use of enabling mechanisms.
However, to implement such mechanisms, the policy needs to be backed up with sufficient
financial resources. This economic element is reflected in the budget that an energy ministry
allocates to gender-mainstreaming and also in the financial provisions made available to
promote the implementation of gender-mainstreaming in the energy sector. A powerful
instrument of governments in this respect is the pricing mechanism. In Section 2.1 it was
stated that financial instruments can inadvertently be gender-biased. Increasing the prices of
energy services could have different effects on the livelihoods of men and women. A tool for
ensuring gender equity in budgeting is a “gender budget” (see Section 4.3).
Since the 1980s, when environmental issues came more into the mainstream of policymaking,
greater attention has been given to using sustainable energy forms, such as the sun and the
wind, rather than fossil fuels. Consequently, energy policy has a sustainable environment
element. An energy policy which reflects environmental considerations could contribute to
improvements at all levels, from global to local21. For example, the use of sustainable energy
sources, in the form of biogas, in households could reduce the negative impacts on women’s
health from burning firewood. Since women are generally the users of household energy, their
health will benefit from the improved environmental circumstances.
A gender-aware energy policy has a social element since it has the ability to redress
inequalities. When integrating gender into an energy policy, gender differences should be
explicitly acknowledged. Women have multiple roles in society. Moser (1993) has
categorised these roles as reproductive, productive and community22. However, policymakers
20 This definition is derived from Leftwich’s definition of politics (Leftwich (1983) quoted in Doyle and
McEachern (2001)).
21 The “local” environment can be inside a building or in the immediate vicinity.
22 Reproductive tasks are undertaken to reproduce the labour force and includes child bearing and rearing,
feeding the family, caring for the sick, teaching acceptable behaviour and so on. Productive tasks are work
done for payment in cash or in kind. It includes the production of goods and services for subsistence or
market purposes. Community tasks are those done not for individual family gain but for the well-being of the
community or society: charitable work, self-help communal construction of village facilities, sitting on village
How to Engender Energy Policy
are not aware of women’s range of roles, and so policy tends to focus on women’s
reproductive needs. Women’s productive role in society is not always acknowledged, despite
their contribution to household income, and therefore their energy needs, particularly the often
strong reliance on process heat for their enterprises, are not reflected in policy. Women’s
participation in community activities can be facilitated by a reduction in the time occupied
with household chores, for example with kitchens, pots and pans requiring less cleaning effort
through the use of cleaner fuels; or by an increased sense of well-being after sunset with
street-lighting making it easier to attend meetings at night.
Annecke (1999) has proposed that a gender-sensitive energy policy should contain five
1. Access: intra-community and inter-household relationships may determine access to
energy services. These relationships may not be the same for all women and men in the
community. The public spaces in the community are one of the places where gender
differences may be visible whereas intra-household gender differences can be hidden
behind the walls of the home, not visible for public scrutiny. Annecke points out that
status, income, age and stage of life-cycle (whether people have children, are employed or
are sick), as well as individual relationships, may affect energy service access.
2. Availability: women and men should be able to select energy services according to their
own criteria, and energy policy should ensure a full range of services is available.
3. Affordability: by definition, poor women and men have small, often irregular cash incomes
and multiple demands on this income, and their choices are constrained by what they can
afford. Pricing policies should reflect the reality of the cash flow levels and patterns of low
income households..
4. Security: Annecke identifies two aspects of security. Firstly, women need energy for
cooking and income-generating activities. When there is not enough energy available, they
cannot prepare food and purify water for themselves and their families. Men and women
will also not be able to maximise income if energy is a significant input into their
enterprises and its supply is unreliable. The second aspect of security is that of men’s and
women’s personal security in the sense of a safe environment for collecting wood and/or
conducting business, and secure from the negative health impacts arising from using toxic
fuels or high flammable fuels.
committees, involvement in religious activities, visiting friends who need help and so on. For women their
community tasks are often seen as an extension of their reproductive roles.
How to Engender Energy Policy
5. Sustainability: the energy services available to men and women should not only be secure,
affordable, accessible and available but also sustainable over time. An energy policy
should not only promote the sustainable use of energy but also train men and women how
to realise such an objective.
Annecke’s first characteristic should actually form the overarching goal of a gender sensitive
energy policy: promoting access to a range of energy services which reflect gender needs and
concerns. We consider that Annecke’s definition of sustainability is reflected in the four
elements of policy referred to earlier in this section. Annecke’s first aspect of security can be
interpreted to mean “having a dependable supply of energy that is sufficient to meet needs”.
However, we consider this to be an aspect of availability. While we consider Annecke’s
second aspect of security to be an issue of safety. We would therefore argue that Annecke’s
five characteristics can be reduced to three: availability, affordability and safety. Availability
addresses the form and quantity of energy sources: sufficient quantities of energy in the form
end-users want should be available. Affordability addresses the issue of cost not only of fuels
but also of appliances. Safety addresses issues along the supply chain: that energy provision
and use should not have negative impacts on the users’ health and welfare. All three aspects
are interlinked. For example, the availability of affordable electric lighting has an impact on
men and women’s safety by reducing the need to use kerosene lamps.
In order to obtain a gender-sensitive policy, the four elements of policy have to satisfy these
three issues which lie at the heart of women's and men’s energy needs. This can be illustrated
by combining the multidimensional policy elements with the gender issues in the form of a
4x3 matrix (see Table 3). The cells of the matrix contain examples of how the aspects can be
interpreted and translated into policy objectives. The matrix can be used as a model of how to
reflect, within energy policy, gender issues related to energy services. The specific content of
the cells should reflect local circumstances. Provided all the cells contain policy statements
with gender dimensions, the energy policy could be considered to be a gender-aware one.
Further, the matrix can be used as an evaluation and monitoring tool with the cells of the
matrix being used as a checklist. Empty cells are indicators of policy gaps. Indicating the
existence of the policy gaps and making proposals on policy instruments to “plug the gaps”
can form the basis of an advocacy policy.
How to Engender Energy Policy
Table 3 An illustrative gender-aware energy policy matrix
Political Economic Environmental
Sustainability Social Equity and
Availability Instruments to
provide a wide
choice of energy
forms for
households and the
informal sector,
e.g. biomass and
LPG are part of
supply mix.
Mechanisms to
stimulate suppliers
to enter the market
household energy,
e.g. women are
trained and
supported to
establish their own
ESCOs (energy
Promotion of
clean energy
sources and
technologies, e.g.
incentives for
energy supplies
around modern
biomass forms.
Equal distribution
and access to
energy services
e.g. women are
able to influence
policy by being
enabled to reach
senior positions in
energy sector
through vocational
Affordability Mechanisms to
reflect women’s
incomes and cash
flows in cost of
fuels e.g.
requirement for
LPG suppliers to
provide different
size cylinders.
Pricing policy
reflects women’s
incomes and cash
flows, e.g.
connection tariffs
and payment
Mechanisms to
stimulate switch
to renewable
energy sources
and technologies
e.g. women have
access to credit
sources sufficient
to purchase solar
home systems.
purchasing power
e.g. through
reduced energy
bills in households
and informal/small
scale business.
Safety Safety regulations
apply to household
labour saving
Pricing policies to
encourage switch
to safer fuels and
technologies e.g.
from kerosene to
LPG or biogas for
Promoting non-
technologies e.g.
campaigns about
the benefits of
biomass stoves
or solar cookers.
Increased well-
being and personal
safety are targeted
e.g. reliable street
lighting enabling
women to
participate in
events after dark.
It should be remembered that the matrix shown in Table 3 only deals with one aspect of a
gender-aware energy policy: gender equity in access to energy services. It does not address
other aspects of engendering policy, such as gender equality in employment and ownership of
the sector.
4 Towards developing and implementing a gender-aware
energy policy
This section describes the conditions within the stages of a policymaking process considered
necessary for developing and implementing a gender-aware energy policy. The policy process
is seen as having three phases as illustrated by the flow scheme in Figure 2. Policy
How to Engender Energy Policy
development is not initiated in a vacuum. Therefore Phase 1 is seen as ensuring the existence
of a number of enabling conditions as necessary prerequisites for stimulating the process
towards creating a more gender-aware energy policy (Section 4.1). Phase 2 is the policy
formulation process itself within which a number of elements are also necessary to achieve a
gender-aware policy (Section 4.2). The implementation process is Phase 3 (Section 4.3),
during which monitoring and evaluation can lead to adjustments of the existing policy (in
other words policymaking as a cyclic process).
Different actors are involved in the three phases of the policymaking and implementation
process and each group has its own underlying rationales for engendering energy policy
(Section 4.4). The actors are either motivated by the existing conditions to start the process, or
they can take action to create any of the missing conditions. These underlying aims of the
actors influence the whole process as well as shaping the form of the engendered policy.
There may also be actors who wish to block or slow the process. Therefore, it is important not
only to analyse the process itself but also those actors involved in the process if the gender-
aware policy is to become a reality.
Phase II
Phase I Phase III
Enabling environment
for creating gender-
aware energy policy
Establish preconditions Implementation
Figure 2: Phases in the gender-aware policymaking process
How to Engender Energy Policy
4.1 Phase 1: The Enabling Conditions for Engendering Energy
Feenstra (2002) identified six enabling conditions for engendering energy policy 23:
1. Participatory planning;
2. Gender Methodology;
3. Legislation on Gender Equality;
4. Political commitment;
5. Institutional support;
6. Financial commitment.
A participatory planning approach is considered more likely to create a greater opportunity for
women’s voices to be heard than traditional approaches to policymaking. Participation
approaches involve the beneficiaries of public policy in formulating that policy through
stakeholder participation by working in collaboration and with the participation of
government, development organisations, civil society organisations, etc.
As was pointed out earlier, a lack of information by policymakers when formulating policies
can lead to gaps in policy. This is clearly the case in the energy sector where the collection and
use of gender-disaggregated data is not the norm. However, it is not only the task of
government departments to develop gender and energy policy, it also involves a range of
different actors, such as universities, NGOs and journalists. These data gaps can be closed
through the use of a gender methodology. A methodology is broader than a method; a
methodology encompasses the methods to be used to fill gender gaps. A methodology
requires the development of a strategy to define what gender-disaggregated data need to be
collected and analysed, by whom, when and how (methods) to provide information on the
gender inequalities resulting from existing energy policy. In this respect, gender analysis24 can
prove to be a very versatile tool. Not only does it create greater gender awareness among
stakeholders, it also provides a tool for monitoring the process towards greater gender-equality
in energy policy. Gender analysis can be used as a tool in the evaluation of energy policies by
23 In her thesis, Feenstra used the term “framework” in relation to each prerequisite. In this paper we have
modified the term to prevent any confusion with the use of the term in Section 2.
24 Gender analysis asks questions, in relation to men and women, about who is doing what, who owns what,
who makes decisions about what and how, who gains and loses by a planned intervention.Gender analysis is
carried out using gender analytic tools which are used to diagnose the existing gender situation in a given
community, or for assessing what the impact of an intervention such as an energy project is likely to be, on
men and on women (Khamati-Njenga and Clancy, 2005).
How to Engender Energy Policy
measuring their impact on meeting women and men’s energy needs and their influence on
gender relations. Therefore, the importance of gender-disaggregated data should not be
The existence of gender equality legislation provides the political basis for engendering policy.
Is the legal treatment of men and women equal? Are men and women equal before the law? Is
gender-equality enshrined in the constitution? Depending on the political and legal
administrative system, the constitution may be more difficult to change than enacting laws.
Legal issues relate not only to the content of energy policy, but also to the ownership of the
energy sector and women’s access to senior positions in the public and private sectors.
Linked to gender equality legislation is a political commitment to gender mainstreaming:
putting pledges into practice. The existence of a National Gender Policy is an indicator of a
political commitment towards achieving gender equality. A National Gender Policy should
encourage gender-mainstreaming at all governmental levels and in all sectors. Commitment to
international conventions on gender equality can also play an important role in ensuring that
governments act to engender policy. Has the government signed and ratified the Convention
on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)? Did they sign and
ratify the Beijing Platform of Action?
To hold governments to their political commitments and to monitor gender equality
legalisation framework as well as to promote gender mainstreaming in all sectors, including
energy, requires institutional support. This support can come from within government, for
example a Ministry for Women’s Affairs or a Gender Ministry, or from civil society, such as
NGOs active in gender and energy.
Finally, financial commitment is crucial for realising gender-aware policies and to
demonstrate political commitment to gender mainstreaming by allocating sufficient resources
for the implementation of gender-aware policies.
This is not to say that a gender-aware energy policy cannot be created without any or only
some of these conditions in place, but that without them the process is likely to take longer.
Nor do we argue that the conditions have equal value under all circumstances. Context is
important in determining which conditions play a stronger determining role than others. Even
How to Engender Energy Policy
if all these conditions are in place, a gender-aware energy is not guaranteed since the
motivation and strategic interests of powerful stakeholders might prove a retarding force (see
Section 4.3). It should also be pointed out that there may be other, as yet unidentified,
enabling conditions necessary to engender energy policies. The enabling conditions mentioned
above can be considered as a trajectory to create an environment in which one could make a
gender-aware energy policy.
4.2 Phase 2: The Formulation Process towards realizing a
Gender-aware Energy Policy
In Phase 2 of the policy process towards realising a gender-aware energy policy, Feenstra
(2002) identified five elements that needed to be in place when actually formulating an
engendered policy:
1. gender-disaggregated data
2. gender-mainstreaming;
3. participation;
4. recognition of gender energy needs;
5. Integrated Energy Planning;
These elements build on the enabling environment created in Phase 1.
The first element in the policy formulation process is the availability of gender-disaggregated
data which contribute to improving decision-makers’ knowledge on women’s and men’s
energy use and demands, as well as information about the energy services men and women use
and require. The availability of such data can be considered the foundation stone of a gender-
aware energy policy.
In principle, public expenditure on social services and infrastructure are allocated on a gender-
neutral basis. In practice, women and men use services differently and so public expenditure
allocation can be more truly seen as gender-blind. Therefore, the second element is the
necessary recognition by policymakers that the current energy policy can be considered as
gender-blind, and giving a commitment to a gender mainstreaming approach to redress the
balance. One way to ensure that sufficient financial support is given to gender-equity in
How to Engender Energy Policy
policy initiatives is by gender budgeting25,26. Gender budgeting gives governments the
opportunity to redirect public policies and expenditure to promote gender equality. The
Government’s budgets should therefore be gender-disaggregated both to create awareness of
gender gaps and to enable monitoring of public expenditure allocation. The actual process of
creating a gender budget can be powerful in raising awareness amongst policy- and decision-
makers of gender issues.
The third element is the participation by women and men as energy end-users in the policy
formulation process. Women are generally under-represented at the decision-making level in
the energy sector and are rarely consulted regarding energy projects even when they are the
intended beneficiaries (Annecke, 1999). Decision-makers in the energy sector should consult
women and facilitate their participation in formulating an energy policy that reflects their
energy demands. Such participation in itself can be empowering for women, although it has to
be kept in mind that women may need capacity building to enable them to participate in such
dialogues in a meaningful way. Men also need to be sensitised to allow women the space to
A gender-aware energy policy should furthermore make a clear statement recognising
women’s role in energy provision and use, and that women’s practical, productive and
strategic energy needs are different to men’s. This recognition arises directly from the use of
gender analysis in Phase I.
Current approaches to energy planning tend to focus on the supply side, and such approaches
miss gender issues. A demand-side approach, which looks at the end-users’ needs, is more
likely to integrate the gender dimension into energy policy than a supply-side approach.
Energy is a means to an end. In other words, energy is a key input to other sectors, for
example energy inputs into small scale industries and agriculture are essential for securing
income generation. In addition, energy plays a role in providing food security, education and
25 Gender budgets are a tool used to breakdown and identify the differentiated impact and incidence of general
public revenue and expenditure on women and men (Balmori, 2003). A gender analysis of an energy
budget has been made in South Africa. In 1996-97, the Department of Minerals and Energy budget was
only 0.5% of the annual state budget, 79% went to nuclear energy; 0.1% went to women-specific projects
(James and Simmonds (1997: 218-9), quoted in Annecke, 2003).
26 A variation on gender budgets is a “gender audit” which is broader in scope and aims to identify gender
gaps in energy policies. The TIE-ENERGIA project aims to conduct three gender audits in Botswana,
Senegal and Kenya (see See Section 4.3.
How to Engender Energy Policy
health; and the form of energy chosen can have various environmental impacts. There is also
reciprocity: increased income can lead to a higher energy demand as well as the purchase of
more energy efficient technologies and cleaner fuels. Reciprocity also extends across sectors:
education can create awareness about different types of energy, the need for environmental
protection can stimulate the use of renewable energy technologies, infant vaccination
campaigns need refrigerators for storing medicines etc. Therefore, energy policy planning
requires an approach that looks at both gender and energy from an integrated perspective
which will help to understand the relationship between gender and energy and what the impact
of certain energy policy decisions will be on women in relation to men, not in isolation but
embedded in their societal roles and responsibilities. Again the same caveat holds as at the end
of Phase I, it may be possible to create a gender-aware policy without some or all of the
conditions being in place.
4.3 Phase III: Implementation
The last two steps of the linear process of policymaking as shown in Figure 1 are
implementation and monitoring and evaluation. The existence of an engendered energy
policy does not mean that the policy implemented reflects what exists on paper, nor that
policy is implemented in a gender-sensitive way. Implementation includes the translation of
the policy into workable detail. This means that the abstract policy needs to be translated into
actions people can work with. This translation can be quite complex and will include a lot of
negotiations, adjustments, improvements, changes, etc. Once actions have been defined they
need to be made operational. In order to prevent “policy evaporation”, the policy
implementation process needs to be monitored and civil society should play an important role
in this.
Although the linear model shows monitoring and evaluation as the step following
implementation, in practice, they take place simultaneously. Monitoring is the activity which
enables the implementing agency to check whether or not the goals and targets are being
reached and to allow for timely adjustment to correct for any inconsistencies. Evaluation is
the activity which assesses results and impacts. Evaluation takes place at different moments
in time. The output of an evaluation can be used as the basis for new policy initiatives.
Monitoring and evaluation of policy can be carried out by all interested actors. Official
policy evaluations themselves need to be monitored to ensure that the terms of reference are
How to Engender Energy Policy
clear and specific about the gender issues that will be evaluated, and that evaluation teams
have a member who has gender expertise since otherwise there is the risk that gender equity
can be easily overlooked (OECD, 1998).
Two tools that can be useful for actors involved in monitoring and evaluating policy
implementation are “indicators” and “gender audits/budgets”. The government can have its
own indicators for policy implementation. Other organisations monitoring policy can use
these official indicators or they can develop their own. For example, the government may
have a rural electrification policy based on solar home systems in which it expects X% of the
rural population to have such a system by 2015. An NGO may consider that grid extension
offers a more reliable service with greater flexibility in the number and types of equipment
that could be used in rural households. So, as part of the NGO’s advocacy work, it may
decide to monitor both the progress in meeting the official targets and also the level of
satisfaction men and women feel about the solar home systems. As was noted in Section 2.4,
the development of gender indicators for monitoring and evaluating energy policy is an area
in need of attention.
Gender budgets provide a mechanism for assessing the impact of government revenue and
expenditure on women, men, girls and boys (Budlender and Hewitt, 2003: 5). There is no
standard agreed procedure for conducting a gender budget but the Women’s Budget Initiative
in South Africa was instigated in 1995 as an NGO-Parliament activity and used the following
steps to analyse policy:
1. An analysis of the situation of women, men, girls and boys in a given sector;
2. An assessment of the extent to which sector policy addresses the situation found in
Step 1;
3. An assessment as to whether budget allocations are adequate to implement the
gender-responsive policy;
4. Monitoring of whether the money was spent as planned, what was delivered and to
5. An assessment of whether the policy as implemented changed the situation described
in Step 1 in the direction of greater gender equality (Budlender and Hewitt, 2003: 10).
Governments can undertake gender budgets as a part of monitoring policy implementation.
NGOs can undertake gender budgets to analyse policy or for identifying gender inequalities
as a consequence of policy.
How to Engender Energy Policy
A gender audit can be seen as a much broader approach than a gender budget, indeed a
gender audit can incorporate a gender budget as one of the activities covered. There is no
standard procedure for gender audits. Audits seem to fall into two general categories in terms
of the focus of the audit: (i) organisational self-assessments for gender sensitivity in terms of
ways of working and programmes; and (ii) those of government or international development
agencies’ policies, strategies and activities (Moser, 2005). The output of an audit can be
recommendations for improving policies and practice. Audits to date seem to rely heavily on
participatory approaches to the analysis. Moser (2005) has described a methodology for a
gender audit of the UK DFID’s programme in Malawi27. Central to the methodology for
assessing gender mainstreaming is the need to identify a conceptual framework together with
appropriate indicators. Such a methodology needs to be tested more widely.
4.4 What motivates people to engender energy policy?
Once the conditions set out in Section 4.2 are realised, a background has been established that
enables the creation of a gender-aware energy policy. However, within any given society,
different actors will have their own underlying reasons for supporting or opposing gender-
mainstreaming. Skutsch (1998) classified the underlying reasons28 for engendering energy
policy as: welfare, empowerment, equality/equity, efficiency and anti-poverty. She explained
these terms as follows:
Welfare: the aim of this approach is to increase women’s welfare by lightening women’s daily
burdens, such as more fuel efficient stoves to reduce wood collection, but not to change their
roles structurally or to open new doors for them.
Empowerment: the aim is to transform women’s lives through creating greater self-reliance by
building skills and initiating activities on all needs and aspects of life.
Equality/Equity: Equity implies an agreed upon and fair system of distributing rights, power
and money between men and women. Equality implies equal shares of these things. In terms
of current energy policies, the distribution of, and the power over, energy resources is not
equally distributed between men and women.
Efficiency: awareness that men and women have different perspectives, needs and constraints
can lead to a better fit of a project intervention with the intended beneficiaries, and thus greater
27 It is interesting to note that DFID in Malawi linked gender issues strongly to poverty which it saw in the
health and education sectors but not in the energy sector.
28 Skutsch used the term “motivations”.
How to Engender Energy Policy
management efficiency which is translated into more successful project delivery.
Anti-poverty: the purpose of this approach is to ensure that poor women increase their
productivity so that they earn more income, which helps them to move out of poverty.
However, within a government, and even within a department of a ministry, several rationales
for engendering energy policy can exist simultaneously. Also the various actors in a policy
formulation process can participate with different (sometimes conflicting) rationales. In
general, private companies are most likely to be motivated by efficiency, while NGOs that
focus on women’s rights can be aiming at women’s empowerment. Local government
organisations are rarely supportive of gender equity and empowerment as this implies a radical
change in the status quo, and most do not really appreciate even the efficiency argument,
taking the somewhat old fashioned line that welfare is what women need (Skutsch et al.,
1999). International donor organizations may regard poverty reduction and gender-equality as
goals. Given the differences in the motivations of actors, it can be questioned whether multi-
actor participation is effective and there is evidence to suggest that, at least at the project level,
implementing organisations hijack projects and shape them towards achieving their own
objectives (Skutsch et al., 1999). In particular, international donors should be aware of their
own motivations (which tend to favour women’s empowerment) and those of the other
participants which may differ significantly from those of the donor. If the motivations are
hidden and conflicting then this could create an obstacle for the gender-mainstreaming
process. However, if the motivations are clear and supportive, this could work as a catalyst for
gender-mainstreaming in trying to satisfy the different energy needs of men and women.
5 Discussion and Conclusions
In this paper we have presented arguments to show that energy policy is gender-blind rather
than neutral as many policymakers assume. This gender-blindness results in men’s energy
needs being addressed while women’s concerns are neglected. We have argued that there are
two underlying factors creating gender-blind energy policies: lack of awareness of the gender
dimensions of energy by energy policymakers, and women’s lack of influence over political
processes. The former can be addressed by creating awareness as part of an advocacy strategy
through policy formulation processes. Addressing women’s empowerment in general lies
beyond the energy sector, requiring more fundamental transformations in society. However,
How to Engender Energy Policy
the energy sector can contribute to the transformation process by adopting gender
mainstreaming both as a process and as a goal. As part of the process, more women should be
involved in defining and implementing energy policy. As a goal, women’s energy needs
should be addressed as part of mainstream energy planning instead of being relegated to
special programmes. The goal of mainstreaming should also be transformatory in the sense
that it not only enables access to sustainable and clean energy but also includes more women
in the control and ownership of the assets of the energy sector. The paper has explained the
policymaking process for those who wish to adopt an advocacy strategy within the energy
sector. Identification of which actors are involved in the process, and their motivations from a
gender perspective, should form part of that strategy in order to form alliances or to develop
countervailing strategies to overcome opposition to engendering policy.
The advocacy literature is full of general statements about “engendered policy” but there is
little detailed discussion of the content of such a policy. Here we have proposed a matrix to
enable the development of an engendered energy policy. We have suggested three overarching
characteristics of policy which, if addressed in all four policy dimensions, would form a
comprehensive gender-aware policy. It is possible that these characteristics (affordability,
access and safety) are not generic and there is a need to test them in a wider context. We
acknowledge that this matrix, and the enabling conditions prior to and during the policy
formulation process, are based on fieldwork in only two countries in Africa and that there is a
need to test them in a wider context.
6 Acknowledgements
The authors would particularly like to thank the people who reviewed a first draft of the paper:
Wendy Annecke, four AFREPREN researchers (Stephen Karazeki, Jennifer Wangeci,
Matthew Wright and Khamarunga Banda), K V Ramani, Elizabeth Cecelski and Govind
Kelkar. Our colleague Margaret Skutsch has also given constructive comments on the paper.
Giles Stacey (Englishworks) edited the text and, as always, made more than grammatical
corrections. His highlighting of weaknesses in the arguments is much appreciated.
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... Decades' worth of energy and development research has linked improved access to energy with women's empowerment (Cecelski 2005: 35;Chant 2014;Clancy & Feenstra 2006;ENERGIA 2019;Moser 1989). The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) combined gender empowerment and gender equality (MDG 3/SDG 5), assuming that equality will lead to empowerment. ...
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How do energy professionals in the Global South facilitate the brokerage of gender equity and empowerment in energy access? Energy sector professionals, including planners and members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), are crucial development actors in off-grid contexts. They operate at the intersection between grassroots-level energy access in off-grid household and community buildings and overarching policy frameworks. However, despite their central role, the relationship between their professional practices and gender empowerment in energy access has received little attention. This paper investigates ‘energy brokers’ across Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan based on interviews ('n' = 86). Subsequent thematic analysis explores these energy brokers’ overarching understandings of gender equity and empowerment, their agency, and brokering practices for energy access (including in relation to emerging energy technologies). Analysis shows ‘differentiated brokerage’ in that energy professionals from the NGOs and the delivery sectors are often better positioned to broker gender equity and women’s empowerment in energy access. However, linkages between equitable access and empowerment need to be better understood, especially at the ‘top’ and go beyond women’s economic productivity. Women’s participation across supply chains of emerging energy-access technology, in energy governance and as energy brokers needs strengthening. 'Practice relevance' Energy professionals occupy an important ‘middle’ position and can help to create changes to overcome gender bias in access to energy. They facilitate the brokerage (understandings, agency and practices) of gender equity and empowerment in energy access in off-grid contexts, including household and community buildings. The evidence from this study shows the performance of energy professionals is critical in facilitating women’s empowerment in energy access. Key recommendations are: (1) energy professionals at the top need to recognise differentiated brokerage across the grassroots–policy spectrum to better identify and equip key actors; (2) energy brokers need to move beyond gender neutrality and economic participation acting on the breadth of women’s empowerment, including psychological dimensions; and (3) women’s participation across energy system transitions needs to be strengthened, with regard to energy supply chains, energy governance and as energy brokers.
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland are the backbone of the Swiss economy and account for 2/3 of employers in the country. This paper examines decent work and sustainable economic growth as promoted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8. The author focuses on Small and Medium Enterprises and discusses business ethics and human-centred values as drivers of inclusive change. We argue that Swiss Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in many cases, create a new paradigm of doing business, relying on tradition, innovation and a focus on essential human values. Traditional communitarian values, a vision for innovation, democratic flat decision-making structures and transparency, as well as financial independence, are crucial elements of the SME-strategy, offering decent work and a sustainable long-term prosperity. As an example of a Swiss SME, we examine Wyon AG a small high-end technology firm in the village of Steinegg, District of Rüte, in the Canton Appenzell Innerrhoden. This is a desk research.
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
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This Volume pulls together analyses in relation to efforts to promote the targets of SDG8 on inclusive growth, environmental innovation and improved access to human rights. It covers experiences and studies from the past and present, from large and small companies, from the Global South and North, and from di�erent sectors. Many contributions point out that entrepreneurship and innovation are important drivers of inclusive and sustainable change. In this context, there is a general agreement that business can be part of the solution in e�orts to realize Agenda 2030 in general, and SDG 8 in particular.
... Few studies in the early 1990s explored relationships between gender and renewable energy (Farhar 1998) as well as the issues of gender in energy policy and economic development (Parikh 1995). Subsequent studies examined the concepts and issues concerning gender and energy (Clancy and Khamati-Njenga 2003), gendered use of energy in the household in developing countries (Räty and Carlsson-Kanyama 2010;Carlsson-Kanyama and Lindén 2007), how to integrate gender into energy policy (Clancy and Feenstra 2006) and the lack of gender awareness in the development of energy systems (Clancy 2009). In contrast to the environmental and economic benefits of alternative energy sources, social and labor dimensions were much less studied. ...
Climate change and weather extremes are already impacting millions ofpeople, devastating crops, eroding coastlines, and threatening freshwater reserves.A continued build-up of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is expected to lead towarming, more acidic oceans and a continued rise in the sea level, changed weatherpatterns, and an even more significant threat to supplies of food, water, and fish(IPCC 2014). The food and agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable and will behit in multiple ways (FAO 2016a).
An estimated 1.3 billion people across the world have no access to electricity. Out of them, 70 per cent are women. This paper wanted to do a brief discussion upon energy poverty and gender nexus where the impacts of energy poverty upon rural women are discussed. As women are primarily responsible for securing food and energy for their families, they are the ones who are worst affected by the lack of access to clean and modern energy. It does not only create a number of health issues for them but also creates a time burden for them which combated them for income generation. Involving women in the supply of clean energy by generating green jobs, is a direct pathway that not only ensures sustainable energy access but also empowers women, improves their health, and improves their capacity for climate adaptation and mitigation.
This paper investigates how gendered spaces are configured within local socio-cultural systems of beliefs and in what way energy interacts with cultural constructions in an Indigenous village of the Brazilian Amazon. Particularly, this paper explores the perceived changes brought by fuel availability and affordability on gendered division of space and local cosmologies. Ethnographic techniques were adopted in the collection of primary data, particularly participant observation and in-depth interviews were best suited to understand the lived experiences of these changes. This paper found that access to cooking gas and fuel for transportation can partially shift pre-existing gendered spaces and, in turn, gendered practices. However, this shift does not challenge pre-existing hierarchies of power which still limit women’s freedom of movement.
Understanding consumer needs and values is crucial to the sustainable delivery and uptake of energy access projects in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Nevertheless, many energy projects aim to empower women without first assessing gendered roles, needs, values, and relations for both men and women in project communities. Neglecting these can be detrimental to the end-users of energy projects, exacerbating conflict within households rather than empowering vulnerable groups. We propose a value-based approach to elicit the varying priorities and values of men and women and assess how these may shape energy access project design and communication in LMICs. Data from 84 qualitative individual interviews, equally split between men and women, and 28 gender-disaggregated focus-group discussions in seven rural Ugandan communities were used. We find that men and women in rural Uganda held largely the same high-priority underlying values focused on basic human needs such as income, healthcare, information services, food security, and water security. However, the language used to communicate these values differed in small but significant ways. Based on this, we offer two potential solutions for a more balanced gender-inclusive approach to energy service project design and communication: (1) Design projects and messaging based on underlying values of both genders while avoiding inadvertently reproducing patriarchal norms; and (2) use gender-specific messaging and vocabulary¹ linking energy projects to underlying values to increase buy-in. This work constitutes a first step in better understanding the importance of gender-disaggregated data in decision-making for energy access initiatives in LMICs.
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Work-In-Progress Similarities and differences The family and oppression Practical and structural facets of oppression Generating and balancing power relations The ahaai experience The location of power What can we learn from this? Bibliography 2 ABSTRACT This paper challenges the notion that either policy or projects can of themselves improve women's access to energy. It posits that this can only be done if we adopt a less narrowly sectoral approach to energy. It suggests that women energy specialists need to espouse broader strategies which take into account gender relations operating from the kitchen to the board room. The paper employs methods of self-reflection favoured by feminists and adult educators. Through a deconstruction of my own experiences as a white middle class mother in South Africa and a comparison with conditions experienced by a black un-waged mothers in an urban shack settlement, I attempt to analyse some of the components of the gender-incorporating-power relations that come into play in the kitchen during the processes of cooking: the authority of position or role, expertise, and the performance of tasks that generate and maintain power. Again using my own experience I posit that democratising these tasks leads to a loss of authority that makes relinquishing them difficult. The degree of difficulty may vary with heightened cognizance and/or similar authority in other identities. I suggest this is something we may all need to practice.
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This article argues that a major problem with contemporary policy analysis is that it has difficulty coming to terms with complex economic change. This in turn is probably influenced by a view of socioeconomic systems that still harks back to the classical mechanics of the nineteenth century and a relatively stable world in which social action could reasonably be informed by disinterested scientific research of a traditional kind. By means of a review of some recent policy analysis literature and by focusing on issues relating to development issues in contemporary Africa, the article maintains that a more realistic approach would recognize the evolutionary nature of modern socioeconomic systems and base policy interventions accordingly. In particular, there is a need to see ‘policy’ as a process of complex change requiring innovative institutional contexts and novel managerial capabilities.
Although the Plan of Implementation adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) contained important provisions regarding the role of energy in sustainable development, it did not adequately reflect the linkages between energy, poverty and traditional gender roles. This was especially noticeable in comparison to the decision on energy adopted at the Ninth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9). ENERGIA, an international network on gender and energy, worked in partnership with other organizations to undertake successful lobbying and advocacy activities to ensure that a gender and energy perspective was reflected in the CSD-9 decision. UNDP, in particular, has been an important partner in raising awareness about the importance of gender-sensitive energy policies. The text of the WSSD Plan of Implementation recognised the importance of gender equality in sustainable development, but did not include specific references to gender issues in the substantive paragraphs of the text. To some extent this reflects the fact that the need for gender sensitivity has become much more widely recognised and accepted. With regard to the provisions concerning access to energy, the negotiators at the WSSD were focused on much more controversial matters. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that gender and energy concerns are included in national and international planning and decision-making processes, ENERGIA and its partners need to develop greater capacity for advocacy and information-sharing. Some of the partnership initiatives launched at the WSSD will provide new opportunities for gender and energy advocates to participate in the design and implementation of sustainable energy activities. For example, the Global Village Energy partnership sponsored by UNDP and the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme has emphasised gender sensitivity in energy decision-making, and has included ENERGIA members on its Board of Directors.
The tetracyclic advanced intermediates 6, 8 and 9 obtained from L-tryptophan via a cis-selective Pictet–Spengler reaction and a Dieckmann–Thorpe cyclisation are used in a range of new approaches to polycyclic monoterpenoid indole alkaloids such as ajmaline and suaveoline. Structural modifications designed to facilitate a key intermolecular addition to C15 (ajmaline numbering) are described, followed by two intramolecular routes based on the addition of a suitable carbon fragment to a remote nitrogen atom prior to bond formation at C15.
The traditionally white and male technical expertise of the energy sector is a major obstacle to gender equity. BRONWYN JAMES tracks the intervention initiatives