Gender, Energy and Policy: A Review of Energy Policies in East and Southern Africa

Renewable, clean energy and gender equality are preconditions for sustainable development and for tackling climate change. Throughout Africa, more than 600 million people (about 50 per cent of the population) do not have access to sustainable, clean energy sources. In Africa, women are producers and consumers of energy in both urban and rural areas. They are responsible for producing energy mainly through collecting biomass-based fuels and for consuming energy in their household activities, microenterprises and agriculture. Women can be powerful agents for change in the transition to and promotion of sustainable energy, through their role as the primary energy manager in households in urban and rural communities. A gender-responsive energy policy assesses gender gaps, identifies actions to close them and promotes women’s engagement in the energy sector, including in decision-making processes. This brief reports on an initial review of gender integration in energy policies in East and Southern Africa. Fifteen of the 22 countries in East and Southern Africa are included in the analysis: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.