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


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


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

Energy Consumption by Gender in Some European Countries


Räty, R., and A. Carlsson-Kanyama. 2010. “Energy Consumption by Gender in Some European Countries.” Energy Policy 38 (1): 646–9. 

Authors: R. Räty, A. Carlsson-Kanyama


Household total energy use has been estimated in numerous studies in recent decades and differences have mainly been explained by levels of income/expenditure. Studies of gender consumption patterns show that men eat more meat than women and drive longer distances, potentially leading to higher total energy use by men. In this study we calculated the total energy use for male and female consumption patterns in four European countries (Germany, Norway, Greece and Sweden) by studying single households. Significant differences in total energy use were found in two countries, Greece and Sweden. The largest differences found between men and women were for travel and eating out, alcohol and tobacco, where men used much more energy than women. We suggest that these findings are policy relevant for the EU, which aims to mainstream gender issues into all activities and to lower its total energy use.

Keywords: energy, gender, consumption

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Germany, Greece, Norway, Sweden

Year: 2010

Women and Climate Change - Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development


Alam, Mayesha, Rukmani Bhatia, and Briana Mawby. 2015. Women and Climate Change - Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development. Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. doi:10.1163/9789004322714_cclc_2015-0019-008.

Authors: Mayesha Alam, Rukmani Bhatia, Briana Mawby


This report comes at an important time of international observance when new commitments to action will be made, coinciding not only with the fifteenth anniversaries of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, but also in anticipation of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 conference in Paris in late 2015. In an effort to remedy the dearth of existing literature on women and climate change, this report makes an important contribution by covering a wide variety of issues; highlighting both impact and agency; mapping examples of solutions that have proven to be successful; and holding relevance to policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and students. The findings of the report are based on and buttressed by a thorough examination of international conventions and protocols; national action plans; journal articles and other scholarly publications; reports by government and multilateral agencies; policy briefs and guidance notes, as well as civil society reports. The analysis is also informed by and draws upon a series of consultations with experts from around the world in research, advocacy, program design and implementation, and global leadership positions. As a result, the study represents an interdisciplinary endeavor with far-reaching practical applicability.

The report frames climate change as a universal human rights imperative, a global security threat, and a pervasive economic strain. Cataloguing the effects of climate change, the study examines the gendered dimensions of sea level rising and flooding; deforestation and ocean acidification; water scarcity; energy production and energy poverty; and climate-related displacement and migration. As part of this analysis, the report not only identifies how women are strained differentially and severely by the effects of climate change, but also how women have, continue to, and could serve as agents of mitigation and adaptation. For example, the section on water scarcity details how climate change causes droughts and soil erosion, which not only disenfranchises women farmers, who are the majority of the agricultural workforce in Africa and elsewhere, but also undermines hygiene and sanitation, affecting maternal health, women’s economic productivity, and girls’ education. Similarly, the section on energy identifies the gendered health, economic, and human security consequences of unmet energy needs of families that lack access to affordable and dependable energy sources. It also highlights the solutions that are working, such as the work of Grameen Shakti to provide clean, renewable energy to rural communities in Bangladesh, in doing so building a new cadre of women solar engineers and technicians.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Education, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Girls, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Water & Sanitation

Year: 2015

The Nature of Women, Peace and Security: A Colombian Perspective


Yoshida, Keina, and Lina M Céspedes-Báez. 2021. “The Nature of Women, Peace and Security: A Colombian Perspective.” International Affairs 97 (1): 17–34.

Authors: Keina Yoshida, Lina M Céspedes-Báez


On 12 November 2019, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), handed down a landmark decision in the case of ‘Katsa Su’ concerning the Awa indigenous group in Colombia. The Colombian conflict has particularly affected indigenous groups, such as the Awa people, and has also affected the territory in which they live. In this article, we explore the decision of the JEP, within a broader analysis of the Colombian peace agreement and consider how it might help us to think about the place of the environment in the Women, Peace and Security agenda and in international law. We call for a gendered and intersectional approach to environmental peacebuilding which is attentive to the importance of gender and different groups. Further, we highlight how the Colombian example shows how concepts such as relief, recovery and reparations are often confined in international law to women's recovery and redress with respect to sexual violence and yet, this conceptualization should be much broader. The Katsa Su case provides an example of the fact that reparations and redress must address other forms of violence, spiritual and ecological, which women also suffer in times of conflict.

Keywords: Americas, Energy and Environment, International Governance, Law and Ethics, conflict, Security and Defence

Topics: Conflict, Environment, Gender, Women, Indigenous, Infrastructure, Energy, International Law, Peacebuilding, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2021

Sustainable Development, Energy Transition, and Climate Challenges in the Context of Gender: The Framework of Gender Determinants of Environmental Orientation in Poland


Żuk, Piotr, and Anna Pacześniak. 2020. “Sustainable Development, Energy Transition, and Climate Challenges in the Context of Gender: The Framework of Gender Determinants of Environmental Orientation in Poland.” Sustainability 12 (21). doi:10.3390/su12219214.

Authors: Piotr Żuk, Anna Pacześniak


How does gender affect attitudes towards ecology? This question is of particular interest in a society where conservative and populist power elites perceive the concepts of “gender” and “ecology” as manifestations of “foreign” cultural influences. In turn, the dependence of the Polish energy system on coal forces us to look for various social factors that may support energy transition and the principles of sustainable development. The article outlines the results of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) research on a representative sample of Polish society composed of 1.001 people and analyses the gender differentiation of attitudes towards the policy of sustainable development in Poland. The results presented in this article clearly show that women in Poland constitute an important support for ecological activities and energy transition. This is also the case with the entire progressive vision of politics: Women have become its main driver and an opportunity for change.

Keywords: climate change, development, ecology, energy transition, gender

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Europe, Central Europe Countries: Poland

Year: 2020

Sustainable Energy Transition, Gender and Modernisation in Rural Sarawak


Shabdin, N. H., and R. Padfield. 2017. “Sustainable Energy Transition, Gender and Modernisation in Rural Sarawak.” Chemical Engineering Transactions 56: 259-64.

Authors: N. H. Shabdin , R. Padfield


In the past two decades policy-makers have highlighted the need for societies to use energy in a more sustainable way. In support of a general trend towards evidence based, policy-making academic research in sustainable energy related fields has gathered pace. In particular, research has concentrated largely on technologies, energy economics and broad concepts of smart energy system. Research focusing on the social sciences of sustainable energy, including topics such as human behaviour change, gender impacts, household scale studies etc. – have tended to receive limited attention from research sponsors and until recently assumed to have limited impact on a transition to a sustainable energy future. Yet recent research in these topics has shown to have great potential in achieving positive social and environmental impact. In line with increasing interest in the social science of sustainable energy transitions, this study examines social behaviour and energy practices of rural communities without access to twenty-four hour electricity in Sarawak, East Malaysia. The research aims to understand the impact of modernity in influencing rural communities’ energy transition with a particular focus on the role women play in energy behaviour at the household level. Five case studies was undertaken in the villages of Kampung Sibu Laut, Mersan, Telaga Air, Boyan and Gersik. Through purposive sampling 25 households in total were selected from these five villages. Consistent with triangulation methodological approaches the fieldwork involved a number of research methods such as a household energy survey, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and ethnographic style methods (i.e. participant observation). Investigating multiple data sources allows a deeper understanding and increased reliability of findings. Initial findings reveals women across the village play a key role in managing the household’s energy needs, and specifically, energy efficiency and energy conservation aspects. Household income also influenced the behaviour of householders with regards to energy saving. For instance, wealthier families owned more electric goods and gadgets as compared with poorer families; thus, energy demand is assumed higher in the former households. Meanwhile, villages without twenty-four hour access to affordable electricity have less energy demand while it is also noted that many of the younger generation have migrated to the town. The research also reveals that besides geographical challenges in rural Sarawak, villages close to protected ecosystems, such as Ramsar sites, have limited development. In this way, electrical appliances were far fewer as compared with villages where there is more consistent electricity supply.

Topics: Environment, Gender, Women, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Malaysia

Year: 2017

Caste, Class and Gender in Determining Access to Energy: A Critical Review of LPG Adoption in India


Patnaik, Sasmita, and Shaily Jha. 2020. “Caste, Class and Gender in Determining Access to Energy: A Critical Review of LPG Adoption in India.” Energy Research & Social Science 67. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2020.101530.

Authors: Sasmita Patnaik, Shaily Jha


Complex interrelationships between caste, class and gender in India define opportunities and access to energy for certain social groups differently than others. An understanding of access to energy through these lenses allows us to design energy policies differently, accounting for the socio-economic inequality in pricing, subsidies and implementation of policies. This paper attempts to evaluate access to energy through the lens of caste, class and gender. We use an integrated framework (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) ) to analyse Government of India's most recent and possibly the largest initiative for the provision of clean cooking energy - Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), and assess the extent to which PMUY is able to enhance use of LPG by overcoming the existing caste, class and gender-based exclusion. The analysis of PMUY has been supported through theoretical insights from the literature and empirical evidence from India's largest multidimensional energy access database – ACCESS 2018. Though the scheme recognises the pre-existing inequities, our analysis suggests a focus on caste, class and gender in the implementation procedures would be imperative for the scheme along with others focused on LPG access to achieve its objective.

Topics: Caste, Class, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda


Muza, O., and R. Debnath. 2020. “Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda.” Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, University of Cambridge, London.

Authors: O. Muza, R. Debnath


Rural off-grid renewable energy solutions often fail due to uncertainties in household energy demand, insufficient community engagement, inappropriate financial models, policy inconsistency and lack of political will. Social shaping of technology (SST) of specific household electric appliances provides a critical lens of understanding the involved sociotechnical drivers behind these constraints. This study employs an SST lens to investigate appliance uptake drivers in Rwanda using the EICV5 micro dataset, such that these drivers can aid in policy design of a socially inclusive renewable energy transition. The methodology includes a systemic and epistemological review of current literature on the drivers of appliance uptake in the Global South. These drivers were then analysed using binary logistic regression on 14,580 households. Results show that appliance uptake is highly gendered and urban-centric in Rwanda. The type of appliance determines its diffusion across the welfare categories, commonly referred as to Ubudehe categories. Regression results show that mobile phones, radios and TV-sets have a higher likelihood of ownership than welfare appliances (refrigerator and laundry machine) by low-income households. There is also a high likelihood of uptake of power stabilisers in urban-higher income households, indicating poor power quality and distributive injustices. Policy implications were drawn using the lens of disruptive innovation.

Keywords: energy transition, off-grid system, Sub-Saharan Africa, social shaping of technology, gender, disruptive innovation

Topics: Gender, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2020

Energy Technology Innovation in South Asia: Implications for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion


Mohideen, Reihana. 2018. “Energy Technology Innovation in South Asia: Implications for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion.” Working paper, Asian Development Bank, Manila.

Author: Reihana Mohideen


This working paper addresses how energy systems and services in South Asia can improve women’s economic empowerment and well-being. It focuses on integrating gender equity considerations into technology design and on drawing women into this process for equal employment opportunities. South Asia’s low-carbon energy transition has significant implications for gender equality and social inclusion. The rising energy demand and the commitment to mitigate climate change are the driving force in energy technology innovation. This paper is the beginning of an ongoing research project that will also include a pilot program to field test a gender equality and social inclusion reference energy system.

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2018

Intersectionality and Energy Transitions: A Review of Gender, Social Equity and Low-Carbon Energy


Johnson, Oliver W., Jenny Yi-Chen Han, Anne-Louise Knight, Sofie Mortensen, May Thazin Aung, Michael Boyland, and Bernadette P. Resurrección. 2020. “Intersectionality and Energy Transitions: A Review of Gender, Social Equity and Low-Carbon Energy.” Energy Research & Social Science 70. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2020.101774.

Authors: Oliver W. Johnson, Jenny Yi-Chen Han, Anne-Louise Knight, Sofie Mortensen, May Thazin Aung, Michael Boyland, Bernadette P. Resurrección


Transitions to low-carbon energy systems are essential to meeting global commitments to climate change mitigation. Yet “greening” energy systems may not make them any fairer, inclusive or just. In this paper, we review the academic literature to understand the state of knowledge on how diffusion of low-carbon technologies impacts gender and social equity in intersectional ways. Our findings indicate that renewable energy projects alone cannot achieve gender and social equity, as energy interventions do not automatically tackle the structural dynamics embedded within socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts. If existing power asymmetries related to access and resource distribution are not addressed early on, the same structural inequalities will simply be replicated and transferred over into new energy regimes.

Keywords: energy transitions, low-carbon energy, climate change, renewable energy, social equity, gender equality

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Infrastructure, Energy, Intersectionality

Year: 2020


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