Anglia Ruskin University
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Brokering Gender Empowerment in Energy Access in the Global South

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 16:01 authored by Anne Schiffer, Mary Greene, Rihab Khalid, Chris Foulds, Cecilia Alda Vidal, Monolita Chatterjee, Sunrita Dhar-Bhattacharjee, Norbert Edomah, Obehi Sule, Debajit Palit, Amos Nkpeebo Yesutanbul
How do energy professionals in the Global South facilitate the brokerage of gender equity and empowerment in energy access? Energy sector professionals, including planners and members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), are crucial development actors in off-grid contexts. They operate at the intersection between grassroots-level energy access in off-grid household and community buildings and overarching policy frameworks. However, despite their central role, the relationship between their professional practices and gender empowerment in energy access has received little attention. This paper investigates ‘energy brokers’ across Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan based on interviews (n = 86). Subsequent thematic analysis explores these energy brokers’ overarching understandings of gender equity and empowerment, their agency, and brokering practices for energy access (including in relation to emerging energy technologies). Analysis shows ‘differentiated brokerage’ in that energy professionals from the NGOs and the delivery sectors are often better positioned to broker gender equity and women’s empowerment in energy access. However, linkages between equitable access and empowerment need to be better understood, especially at the ‘top’ and go beyond women’s economic productivity. Women’s participation across supply chains of emerging energy-access technology, in energy governance and as energy brokers needs strengthening. PRACTICE RELEVANCE Energy professionals occupy an important ‘middle’ position and can help to create changes to overcome gender bias in access to energy. They facilitate the brokerage (understandings, agency and practices) of gender equity and empowerment in energy access in off-grid contexts, including household and community buildings. The evidence from this study shows the performance of energy professionals is critical in facilitating women’s empowerment in energy access. Key recommendations are: (1) energy professionals at the top need to recognise differentiated brokerage across the grassroots– policy spectrum to better identify and equip key actors; (2) energy brokers need to move beyond gender neutrality and economic participation acting on the breadth of women’s empowerment, including psychological dimensions; and (3) women’s participation across energy system transitions needs to be strengthened, with regard to energy supply chains, energy governance and as energy brokers.



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Buildings and Cities




Ubiquity Press, Ltd.

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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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