Women face different—and sometimes greater—challenges than their male counterparts in entrepreneurship and asset acquisition. At times, social and cultural barriers may impede women from becoming landowners or from other assets, which hinders opportunities to access and secure finance. In addition, women may sometimes feel intimidated in requesting loans at banking institutions, preferring to request loans from family and friends. Whether as consumers or entrepreneurs, women benefit from a different set of financial mechanisms to create equitable access to economic resources, to support women’s commercial endeavours and the acquisition of modern energy technologies.
Taking a gender-responsive approach to renewable energy financing should therefore involve two key strategies: (1) ensure that women are empowered to design and implement renewable energy financing decisions; and (2) ensure that the financing systems supporting renewable energy projects, plans and programmes explicitly consider women’s needs. Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase in financial support that is designed to specifically address the financial constraints women face when seeking access to business opportunities and modern energy technologies.
The webinar was moderated by Andrea Athanas, IUCN, and included the following presentations:
- Women entrepreneurs: barriers and solutions for unlocking finance to modern energy technologies with Rebecca Fries and Stephanie Finigan, Value for Women
- Bridging finance and women’s needs: fostering linkages in Senegal with Nathalie Rami and Abdoul Dosso, Energy4Impact
- Consumer power: enabling women to access modern energy in Nepal with Anya Cherneff, Empower Generation
The Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO)* initiative is a five-year program launched by USAID and IUCN in 2014. GECCO’s overall goal is to leverage advancements in women’s empowerment and gender equality through, and for, the benefit of climate change and development outcomes. Through its series of webinars, GECCO aims at increasing knowledge and sensitization of key stakeholders in the energy and mitigation sectors as a means to advance women’s empowerment.
*The former Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO) initiative is now part of a broader program, Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT), which aims to improve development outcomes by strengthening environmental programing through gender integration and achieving gender equality outcomes.