CSW recap: Energy access is a key driver of gender equality
The Alliance and wPOWER hub co-hosted a panel discussion in coordination with UN Women’s 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to highlight energy access as a key driver of gender equality. The event showcased the work of the Alliance and partners in using gender-informed approaches to scale energy access and increase women’s economic empowerment within the clean energy sector.
[pullquote] With UN Women calling for increased investment in cookstoves to achieve gender equitable sustainable development, and the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment report asserting that energy access reduces time poverty, this event gave participants the chance to learn from gender practitioners who are successfully increasing women’s economic empowerment in the clean cookstoves and fuels sector. Panelists included representatives from the Green Belt Movement, the Alliance, and Women for Women International.
“Access to clean cookstoves and fuels impacts women in the most critical areas of their lives – the areas that are crucial for living a healthy, safe, empowered life…In order to thrive, a woman has to first be healthy…In order to live her life to the fullest, a woman needs time to spend how she chooses…In order to flourish, a woman has to be safe and free from fear of violence…In order to be empowered, a woman needs opportunities to be a leader, within her family or community,” said Krista Riddley, Senior Director of Gender and Humanitarian Programs, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
A key focus of the panel was the need for ongoing mentoring and coaching programs, in addition to trainings like the recent, interactive workshop co-hosted by the Alliance and wPOWER in Nairobi to ensure women are economically empowered.
“A combination of building confidence and agency, as well as skills, is critical. It’s not just about training. It’s also about creating an environment for women to succeed and support one another to build that confidence and agency; that cannot be underestimated,” said Anna Mecagni, Director of Program Design and Development at Women for Women International.
Additional takeaways from the session:
- Starting local while working with existing community structures is key for increased engagement.
- Effectively explaining, in a culturally sensitive manner, the long term cost savings and benefits of these improved technologies makes purchase and adoption more likely.
- Providing “touch and feel” demonstrations which allow communities to see how the technologies work first hand is essential
- Engaging with men is critical and should be done from the outset of programs.
This event was part of the Alliance’s overall participation in CSW. Krista Riddley also, spoke at an event to discuss the importance of inclusion of girls and women in advancing clean energy entrepreneurship, specifically within the context of Haiti. The event was co-hosted by the Public-Private Alliance Foundation and UNA-USA Southern NY State Division, and the Alliance participated alongside panelists from Konbit pou Developman Commune Kot de Fer, Haiti Education and Resource Team, and Population Council.