Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Energy Access in the Mano River Union (MRU) Sub-Region
While there have been efforts to address energy needs in developing countries by the global community, energy needs as related to women have been overlooked. Women are lagging behind their male counterparts in most indicators of socio-economic growth. Access to efficient energy is an essential element of economic development where women remain disproportionately affected. In 2011, the UN Commission on the Status of Women recognized that women and girls are “disproportionately burdened by a lack of access to modern energy sources” and that “significant social and economic benefits can be realised by enhancing women’s access to energy.” Acknowledging women’s energy needs and women’s critical contributions to economic progress is essential for sustainable development strategies and eradicating poverty. This background paper presents: (a) an overview of the current state of affairs in the MRU subregion with regard to gender, the energy sector, and women’s economic empowerment at the regional and national levels based on a desk review and input from the organizing parties; (b) an assessment of existing gaps and opportunities related to improving women’s economic empowerment through energy access; and (c) recommendations.