Bioenergy Policies in Africa: Mainstreaming Gender amid an Increasing Focus on Biofuels

Citation:

Molony, Thomas. 2011. "Bioenergy Policies in Africa: Mainstreaming Gender amid an Increasing Focus on Biofuels." Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 5 (3): 330-41.

Author: Thomas Molony

Abstract:

Many developing countries are now working to update their existing energy strategies and to formulate their bioenergy policies to accommodate rises in domestic and external supply and demand for biofuels. This paper presents a case for mainstreaming gender into African countries’ bioenergy policies, and uses a review of the literature on gender and bioenergy to suggest some important avenues for future research to expand the current poor state of information on gender and the newer issue of biofuels. The paper opens with a brief discussion on the motivation for interest in biofuels in some African countries and suggests that in the integrated global context of biofuels, the conditions that generate inequality between rich and poor remain unchanged. It then discusses equity and energy poverty, and points to the lack of empirical evidence on gender issues relating specifically to biofuels. From this it turns to our knowledge of what the existing state of broader bioenergy use can tell us about bringing gender equity to African national bioenergy policies, and suggests that gender equity can be ‘energized’ through a perspective that focuses as much on social roles and relations between men and women as it does on ascribed responsibilities. National level bioenergy Policy Working Groups (PWGs) are then introduced as having an important role to play in ensuring that gender issues are mainstreamed into bioenergy policy within the context of the increasing focus on biofuels.

Keywords: gender, women, bioenergy, policy, development, Africa

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Energy Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Malawi, Mali, Tanzania

Year: 2011

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