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A catalyst for change: Building the gender and energy network

The lack of attention to gender in the energy sector, and the consequent lack of participation by women, inspired ENERGIA’s Phase 1. A network created by gender and energy experts from all over the world represented the best option to catalyse attention and raise awareness of the challenges women faced in the energy sector.

The long-term objective of the network was threefold:

  • To establish a permanent secretariat on women and energy in an international or regional institution, preferably in a country where large portions of the public are without access to reliable energy.
  • To develop informative products, such as research reports, case studies, guidelines, planning tools and training manuals to strengthen gender and energy planning.
  • To support, encourage and build capacity for gender and energy planning in national, regional and international institutions.

The informal initial group, consisting of about 30 individuals actively involved in gender and energy work, played a key role in identifying, supporting and promoting the group’s objectives. Meetings were inspiring and generated many ideas about what ENERGIA could and should be. One of the main purposes was to mainstream and increase credibility of the issue of gender in the energy sector, through influencing key stakeholders and using communications products to raise awareness of the interlinkages between gender and energy access. Another goal was to promote gender-sensitive approaches, by building valuable partnerships and encouraging institutions, organisations and key actors to apply a gender-lens to projects, programs and policies. In addition, ENERGIA developed and disseminated a newsletter—ENERGIA News—on gender and energy, which turned out to be a point of reference for energy and gender experts.