Mainstreaming Gender in the SADC Energy Sector
Without access to modern energy services, women and girls spend most of their time on basic tasks that are time-consuming, non-remunerative and highly laborious, such as collecting biomass fuels. This further exacerbates gender inequalities as many women are unable to access wage employment, education or business opportunities due to these responsibilities, and also limits options for social and political interaction outside the household. Women and girls are largely responsible for household and community activities, including energy provision in most Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and thus are the primary energy producers and end users at household level. Major challenges within the gender and energy nexus are the limited participation of women in designing home energy systems, resource access, and decision-making at national and regional levels. The regional trend at the critical decision-making level is more inclined towards men, with women occupying less than 10 percent of most governance structures in this regard.