Empowering women and improving their status are essential to realizing the full potential of economic, political and social development. At the center of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Goal 5 includes measures relevant to the energy sector, including to end all discrimination against women and girls, recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of infrastructure, ensure women’s effective participation and equal opportunities, and enhance the use of enabling technologies.
Gender equality matters if energy sector development is to contribute to economic growth and broader development goals. Access to clean cooking energy is a particularly gendered issue, because women are primarily responsible for cooking in virtually all cultures. While roughly 1 billion people live without electricity, nearly 3 billion people – or more than 40 percent of the world’s population – do not have access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, mainly in South Asia but also in Africa, parts of Latin America and elsewhere. Cooking energy access will be a key contributor to meeting Goal 5 on gender equality and to reducing poverty.