Gender, Energy, and Empowerment: A Case Study of the Rural Energy Development Program in Nepal


Mahat, Ishara. 2011. “Gender, Energy, and Empowerment: A Case Study of the Rural Energy Development Program in Nepal.” Development in Practice 21 (3): 405–20. 

Author: Ishara Mahat



Rural women in general, and mountain women in particular, are greatly involved in managing household energy systems in Nepal. Alternative energy technologies have a high potential to reduce women’s workloads and improve their health status, as well as increasing efficient energy supply. Interventions in rural energy are primarily aimed at reducing firewood use and increasing economic growth through rural electrification, rather than aiming to reduce human drudgery, especially that of women. Hence, such intervention takes place without considering the needs, roles, interests, and potential of rural women, even though women are the primary users and managers of rural energy resources. This article aims to analyse the gender implications of rural energy technologies in Kavre district, where the Rural Energy Development Program (REDP) has been implemented, especially in terms of saving women’s labour and increasing socio-economic opportunities for women.


Les femmes rurales en général, et celles qui habitent dans les régions montagneuses en particulier, jouent un rôle très important dans la gestion des systèmes énergétiques des ménages au Népal. Les technologies alternatives de production d’énergie présentent un important potentiel de réduction des charges de travail des femmes et d’amélioration de leur état de santé, ainsi que d’augmentation de l’approvisionnement efficace en énergie. Les interventions dans le secteur de l’énergie en milieu rural visent principalement à réduire l’utilisation du bois de feu et à intensifier la croissance économique à travers l’électrification rurale, au lieu de viser à réduire le travail humain pénible et ingrat, en particulier parmi les femmes. Par conséquent, ces interventions ont lieu sans tenir compte des besoins, rôles, intérêts et potentiel des femmes rurales, alors que les femmes sont les principales utilisatrices et gestionnaires des ressources énergétiques rurales. Le but de cet article est d’analyser les implications selon les sexes des technologies énergétiques rurales dans le district de Kavre, où le Rural Energy Development Program (REDP) a été mis en oeuvre, en particulier sur le plan de la réduction de la charge de travail pour les femmes et de l’augmentation des opportunités socioéconomiques pour les femmes.


Las mujeres del campo en general, y las mujeres de la sierra en particular, administran activamente los sistemas de energı´a dome´sticos en Nepal. Es posible que las tecnologı´as de energı´a alternativas puedan reducir el trabajo de la mujer, mejorar su salud y hacer ma´s eficiente el uso de la energı´a. Las obras de los sistemas de energı´a en el campo esta´ disen˜adas para reducir primero el uso de len˜a y potenciar el crecimiento econo´mico a trave´s de la electrificacio´n rural, y no para reducir el trabajo pesado, mucho menos el de la mujer. Por lo tanto las obras se realizan sin tomar en consideracio´n las necesidades, el papel, los intereses o el potencial de las campesinas, aunque e´stas sean las principales usuarias y administradoras de los recursos energe ´ticos del campo. Este ensayo analiza distintas consideraciones de ge´nero de las tecnologı´as de energı´a rural del distrito de Kavre, donde se lleva a cabo el Programa de Desarrollo de Energı´a Rural (REDP en ingle´s), en particular la disminucio´n de la carga de trabajo para la mujer y el incremento de oportunidades socioecono´micas para la mujer.


As mulheres rurais em geral, e as mulheres da montanha em particular, esta˜o imensamente envolvidas na gesta˜o de sistemas de energia familiares no Nepal. Tecnologias alternativas de energia teˆm um grande potencial de reduzir a carga de trabalho das mulheres e melhorar suas condic¸o˜es de sau´de, e tambe´m de aumentar o fornecimento de energia eficiente. Intervenc¸o˜es na energia rural visam principalmente reduzir o uso de lenha e aumentar o crescimento econoˆmico atrave´s da eletrificac¸a˜o rural em vez de visar a reduc¸a˜o do fardo humano, especialmente o das mulheres. Assim, tal intervenc¸a˜o ocorre sem considerar as necessidades, tarefas, interesses e potencial das mulheres rurais, mesmo sendo as mulheres as principais usua´rias e gerentes dos recursos de energia rural. Este artigo visa analisar as implicac¸o˜es de geˆnero das tecnologias de energia rural no distrito de Kavre, onde o Programa de Desenvolvimento de Energia Rural (REDP) tem sido implementado, especialmente em termos de poupar o trabalho das mulheres e aumentar as oportunidades socioeconoˆmicas para as mulheres.

Keywords: South Asia, gender and diversity, Labour and livelihoods

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2011

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