There is a clear relationship between energy and human development, the 2030 agenda includes a specific target to reach Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Achieving this goal has positive impacts on health and health care, education, economic growth, security and gender equity.
The current energy model, characterized by a serious inequity in access to energy services, a high dependence on fossil resources, an extended use of nuclear technology, an oligarchic system, and an upward trend in the price of energy has significant negative impacts on society, and especially in women.
This reality causes deforestation in the area, lack of access to development opportunities (education and income generation), increase in fatal traffic accidents, as well as eye diseases associated with the use of kerosene lamps, chronically injuries associated with the collection and transportation of biomass and respiratory diseases.
According to WHO, annually, 4.3 million people die prematurely due to diseases attributable to indoor air pollution caused by the inefficient use of solid fuels (2012 data) for cooking. This number is higher than the sum of deaths from malaria and AIDS.
According to an article of the Spanish Periódico de la energía dated 2/08/2017, “the Spanish households could save more than € 5,350 million in the natural gas and electricity bill if they implemented energy efficiency measures”. This amount is higher than the 4,700 million dollars needed globally to ensure universal access to clean cooking systems and subsequently avoiding the 4.3 million premature deaths per year caused by fumes from burning biomass in inefficient stoves and 25% of the global CO2 emissions (data: Global Alliance for Clean CookStoves)
99% of maternal deaths occur in Health Centers without access to electricity. Derived from the traditional role of women in developing countries, they assume most of the tasks associated to the fuel cycle and food processing, therefore these impacts have higher incidence on them.
In developed countries, where infrastructures for access to electricity and adequate cooking facilities are available, not all households have the capacity to satisfy minimum energy services to meet their basic domestic needs. This situation is known as fuel poverty, which affects 54 million people in the EU and 7 million in Spain in 2012 (18% of the population) and constitutes a serious health risk for the people.
2/3 of households in energy poverty are headed by women. Subsequent impacts include respiratory, heart and mental diseases; credit risk and disconnection from the power supply; damage to buildings, energy wastage, increased emissions, etc.
Since negative impacts derived from the current energy model affect women more intensely than men, the need for gender differences regarding the diagnosis of the problems and interventions become more than evident.
Despite the fact that mainly decision makers may consider matters relating to energy as gender-neutral, men and women are affected differently by energy policies (power generation, fuel supply, distribution systems) because of their different roles in their home, their work and their community.
Facilitating women’s access to clean and sustainable energy services has important benefits for women.: It reduces health risks and allows them to save between 1 and 4 hours a day on household activities (cooking, food processing, fetching water and collecting combustible materials).Therefore, they have available time to go to school, for job searching, for setting their own goals outside the home and for multiplying their participation in activities in the community.
The aforementioned facilitates women’s economic autonomy and empowerment, which leads to improvements to their nutrition, their health and their education.
The energy infrastructure, in addition to meeting the requirements of the Appropriate Technology for Human Development, are to be developed under the umbrella of an energy policy sensitive to gender, in addition to efficiency, sustainability, the use of appropriate technologies and the appropriateness of the interventions, the following issues must be taken into account:
- Analyze the situation from data disaggregated by gender, income, ethnicity and age
- Make an approach from the demand side rather than from the supply side, and identify primary services in order to alleviate work burdens of women and subsequent health risks
- Gender balance at all stages of decision-making:
- Include women from the community and from the organizations involved in defining the strategy and agenda of the process
- Ensure gender balance in political positions as well as in the energy industry. In accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the share of female employees is estimated at 20%, most of them working in non-technical fields such as administration and public relations.
- Energy policies and projects must be assimilated from a holistic approach with the rest of the programs related to health, education, agriculture and job creation.
ISENER is aware that women and children are the main s affected by the impacts of the current social model energy so we carry out R+D+I+T projects on energy access prioritizing the energy needs of this group of people.