Mainstreaming gender into renewable energy action planning
Published: 18 Oct 2023
Access to Energy
Gender equality is a significant objective of CoM SSA as tackling climate change and improving access to energy needs to be an inclusive process which leads to inclusive outcomes while reducing gender inequalities. CoM SSA is committed to mainstreaming gender across all climate and energy actions implemented.
While climate change is a threat to everyone, it does not affect everyone equally. The impacts of climate change perpetuate and increase existing inequalities, such as those between women and men. Looking specifically at gender equality in energy access projects, it is widely known that women and children are disproportionately affected by energy poverty and often, for example:
bear the main burden of biomass (wood) collection where clean cooking solutions are not available
are exposed to toxic pollutants when using inefficient stoves which burn wood and or charcoal for cooking, in the absence of clean cooking options and
feel unsafe in poorly lit public areas due to a lack of public street lighting.
Gender equality is becoming increasingly recognised as central for effective climate action and a growing number of local governments want to strengthen their capacity to mainstream gender in their climate change work. The CoM SSA Secretariat launched a survey in January 2022 to assess CoM SSA signatories' needs in terms of gender mainstreaming training. Gender mainstreaming means including a gender perspective at all stages of the project cycle by following gender guidelines and adopting tools to make the project gender-inclusive and responsive. Results from the survey indicated that the project development phase is where support is needed most. In a bid to strengthen the capacity of CoM SSA signatories, the initiative hosted a webinar in collaboration with the 100% Renewables Cities and Regions Roadmap (100%RE) project.
During this webinar city officials and experts shared their knowledge and experience with mainstreaming gender into renewable energy action planning.
Adah Omedi, Director of the Gender division at the County Government of Kisumu, Kenya, shared experience on the challenges that her county is facing to collect relevant sex-dissagregated data to inform energy projects development. She believes that more advocacy work is needed to mainstream gender in the energy sector, at all levels of governance.
Emma Wanjiru, Gender Officer at the County Government of Nakuru, Kenya, shared experience on a recent solar PV energy project development that involved inclusive stakeholder consultations techniques, some of which detailed in the Gender-inclusive participatory approach CoM SSA guide.
The webinar delved into the key challenges as well as potential solutions that CoM SSA signatories can implement to effectively mainstream gender in the development of climate and energy projects.
Carole Tankeu, Associate Director at S2 Services focused on Climate and Gender, provided case studies from Kenya and presented tools and resources that local governments can use to improve the gender-responsiveness of their projects, including the CoM SSA step-by-step guide to develop a Gender Analysis at an early stage of project development.