Wood Energy: The Role of Women’s Unvalued Labor


Nathan, Dev, and Govind Kelkar. 1997. “Wood Energy: The Role of Women’s Unvalued Labor.” Gender, Technology and Development 1 (2): 205–24.

Authors: Dev Nathan, Govind Kelkar


This paper argues that in a farm, family-specific aspects of gender relations—that women’s labor is unvalued as ’domestic service,’ or that it has a lower value and lower opportunity cost than men’s labor—lead to the overuse of women’s labor in activities like wood fuel collection. This inhibits farm families from investing in labor-saving and fuel-saving devices, like improved stoves. It also has an adverse impact on farm women’s leisure time and their health. The paper argues that the primary emphasis in policy to bring about an increase in fuel efficiency or fuel switching should be on increasing the possibility of women’s income-earning opportunities, mainly outside the homestead, as in rural industry.

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Gender, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods

Year: 1997

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