By Mphatso Kampeni:
We all know that women are progressing in all the fields of the world, in much the same way as they have played a predominant and crucial role in the energy sector. Even in the 21st century, women play a significant role in every household in the world. Even in this era of modernisation and hi-tech cities and societies, they require an efficient energy source for their homes for heating, cooking, easy transportation as they are, at the same time, less expensive than conventional sources.
Energy initiatives can shift gender paradigms by promoting the empowerment of women, as these initiatives can have the ability to increase income-generating opportunities for women, reduce hunger and poverty levels, and enhance women’s socio-political status
Cooking, heating, and lighting needs place a significant burden on rural women and girls, negatively impacting their health and safety, and limiting education and livelihood opportunit ies. Improving women’s status has an impact on many other development outcomes, including for children, and the clean energy sector stands to benefit from, and should contribute to, these kinds of improvements.
All of us should assist both policymakers and practitioners in understanding the significant and essential links between gender and renewable energy specifically in order to bridge the gender knowledge gap around macro energy projects. This is why organisations such as Open Africa are organising round-tables involving major players and captains in renewable and non-renewable energy industries.
Open Africa’s mandate is to facilitate business and investment in the African continent through effectively harnessing the efforts of governments and private sector institutions. The Open Africa Round Table Discussion for alternative energy in Africa will host key industry members, policy makers and stakeholders integral to delivering a clean, sustainable future for the continent.
Distinguished guests will receive valuable insight into the roadmaps of policies, technology and funding requirements as well as get the opportunity to directly engage interested parties on solutions for the acceleration of renewable energy harvesting in Africa and Malawi can immensely benefit from such initiatives as the country is on drive to economic recovery.
Women are underutilised resource in both climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives. With the proper capacity, women have the capability to represent key energy managers, contributors and beneficiaries of renewable energy and efficiency projects. Failure of nations to recognise the full potential of women will result in lost opportunities to achieve multiple benefits across the energy sector.
Increasing women’s participation in policy dialogues, ensuring equal access to co-benefits generated by mitigation options, opening the renewable energy and energy efficiency labour forces to women, and untapping new investment opportunities through increasing women’s participation as investors, will both support effectiveness of mitigation actions and pave the way toward gender equality in the energy sector.
As argued by Lor en Aguilar of International Union for Conservation of Nature, evidence from many sectors suggests that integrating women into all levels of the energy value-chain will lead to more effective clean energy initiatives, unleash greater return on investment and expand emission reduction opportunities.
However, while more attention is being paid to the imperative role of women in the energy sector, there is still a significant lack of recognition of women as more than passive users of energy. For instance, the current composition of the energy sector, particularly at decision-making positions, remains a homogenous group.
If it is luck of specialised training or tertiary education, then lets train more young women in engineering fields and encourage women to invest in renewable energy businesses. This initiative of renewable energy and innovation will collaborate well with sustainable development goals 5 and 7 .Malawi can become a leader in renewable energy innovation.
Women have come a long way. They have made their positions clear in many more complicated spheres of life than what they themselves could imagine. And the world has long before been savoring the fruits of women’s virtues.
And, now, they are on a level play-field and stand poised to stake indisputable claims for their due pounds.
When it comes to women and their representation in the society, what surfaces most visibly is their positions in political circles or in circles of some power. It is a fact that not many changes have come up in the society by way of women holding such positions. So long as they remain not proportionally represented, the ones who get set and go with their male counterparts end up nowhere and they come back to square one. So, it is better not to press for their flesh in the election.
Mphatso Kampeni is a Diplomacy and International Relations Scholar based in Kingdom of Eswatini.