Late Developers: Gender Mainstreaming in the Energy Sector
Since the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, gender mainstreaming has become both a goal and a methodology for achieving women’s equality. It enables influencing policy processes so that policies and programmes reflect better women ’ s needs and priorities and that these are supported by a more equitable distribution of resources. In the South, gender mainstreaming has taken a foothold in many sectors of the economy particularly those strongly associated with women, such as health, education, forestry and agriculture, but curious ly enough not energy, despite i n the South, energy at the micro - level being “ women ’ s business ” , in the sense that the gender division of labour at the household level generally allocates the provision of energy to women.
Policy makers do not recognise the existence of gender needs in energy services and as a consequence women ’ s energy needs tend to be marginalised in policy documents (Clancy, 2000) (Mensah - Kutin, 2006) . Energy planning is implemented in a gender - neutral way, in other words it is assumed that energy policies benefit women and men equally. What we find in reality is that energy planning is gender - blind , that it fails to recognise that needs o f men and women are different (ENERGIA, 2008 ). Such a planning approach misses issues that are of relevance to women and inadvertently discriminates, usually against women 2 . For example, a policy to promote the use of electricity by small enterprises neglects the fact that many of women ’ s tradition al income generating activities use process heat (such as, food preparation and processing, beer brewing, and pottery) (Woroniuk and Schalkwyk, 1998) for which electricity is not the cheapest option. Whereas a more gender - aware policy for small enterprise s would promote a form of energy more compatible with process heat generation, for example, an effective distribution networks for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) (Karlsson, 2003) . During the preparations for Beijing, a number of women working in the energy sector realized that if progress was to be made with getting gender and energy onto the international agenda, a very focused, practical and global networked approach would be needed. These women came together in 1995 to establish ENERGIA 3 , the international network on gender and energy. After the Beijing Conference, w omen and men began to advocate the need to engender energy policy (see for example, (Annecke, 2003) ) . Most of the initial activity primarily took place at the international level. This pape r describes an approach to gender mainstreaming in the energy sector undertaken by ENERGIA in selected countries in Africa. It begins with an explanation why gender mainstreaming has been so late to develop in the energy sector: that energy seen by social scientists as too technical to be of relevance and the background and daily work of engineers and economists working in energy has little linkage with social policy. The second part of the paper describes a theoretical framework for the development of a gender sensitive energy policy. The third part of the paper describes the approach ENERGIA took in gender mainstreaming in the energy sector, including the development of a set of tools, such as gender goals, suitable for engendering energy policy.