Knowledge Note

First in a series of briefs, created by USAID and IUCN, this document provides an overview of the role of women in the formal energy sector. It presents evidence that women’s equal participation in the sector will result in measurable benefits, including increased returns on investments and stronger development outcomes.

Research increasingly demonstrates the benefits of integrating gender considerations into the energy value chain and throughout the power sector. When the barriers that prevent women from having equal access to energy and economic opportunities are removed, significant productivity gains are unlocked, thereby strengthening development and economic outcomes. Additionally, women are transforming the energy sector in their roles as energy entrepreneurs, innovators and decision makers.

In addition to an overview and evidence of benefits, the brief also identifies the ways in which women are driving the growth of the renewable energy sector and presents a global overview of best practices and solutions that remove barriers to participation. A list of recommendations with links to resources for stakeholders, including policymakers and practitioners, is provided at the end.

Key Messages

  • Integrating women into all levels of the energy value chain will lead to more effective and efficient clean energy initiatives, unleash greater return on investments and expand emission reduction opportunities.
  • Despite considerable progress at a smaller, individual scale, further research and investment is needed to attract and retain women to participate in the energy sector.
  • The private sector has the potential to offer many opportunities for women to formally participate in the sector. However, further research and advocacy is needed to ensure the private sector is actively recruiting and retaining women, as well as developing gender-responsive and inclusive strategies.
  • Creating and sustaining suitable environments for women is necessary. It allows for their engagement and access to knowledge, finance and resources, as well as provides them with with role models, mentors and flexible working arrangements for increased impact.

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