Patriarchy and (Electric) Power? A Feminist Political Ecology of Solar Energy Use in Mexico and the United States

Citation:

Buechler, Stephanie, Verónica Vázquez-García, Karina Guadalupe Martínez-Molina, and Dulce María Sosa-Capistrán. 2020. “Patriarchy and (Electric) Power? A Feminist Political Ecology of Solar Energy Use in Mexico and the United States.” Energy Research & Social Science 70: 1-10.

Authors: Stephanie Buechler, Verónica Vázquez-García, Karina Guadalupe Martínez-Molina, Dulce María Sosa-Capistrán

Abstract:

This study combines the use of feminist political ecology and a water-energy-food nexus lens to analyze gender, age and social class in women’s experiences with small-scale solar energy projects in urban and rural Arizona, USA and Zacatecas, Mexico. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy lends itself to more decentralized forms of production, offering an opportunity for individuals and communities (rather than corporations) to shape a more sustainable energy landscape. Understanding women’s roles and needs related to small-scale solar energy projects is essential; women remain the most important decision-makers and laborers for household and small-scale livelihood-related energy use. The study focused on the roles of women community leaders and male self-taught innovators in small-scale solar energy technology training, uptake and dissemination. It also analyzed barriers for elderly and low-income women to access solar energy. Most of the solar energy was related to water use for household chores or for irrigation of urban or rural agriculture. Some projects assisted women in meeting their household and livelihood needs in multiple ways and were part of broader household and community-level sustainability initiatives. The policy and institutional context in which the small-scale projects were inserted shaped women’s access to training and technologies. Some projects and programs missed the very populations they were intended to serve due to funding politicization. 

 

Keywords: feminist political ecology, WEF nexus, solar energy, women, Arizona, Zacatecas

Topics: Age, Class, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico, United States of America

Year: 2020

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