Evidence of Multi-Dimensional Gender Inequality in Energy Services from a Large-Scale Household Survey in India

Nature Energy


A. T. Zhang✫, S. Patnaik, S. Jha, S. Agrawal, C. Gould, J. Urpelainen

Energy access delivers broad socioeconomic benefits, but few studies have examined how benefits are allocated within the household. We conduct a large-scale survey with 4,624 respondents across six Indian states to provide results on intra-household differences across multiple outcome dimensions of energy service, including knowledge, satisfaction, utilization, and opinion. Using a Women's Empowerment Index (WEI) to measure household-level gender equality, we find that women in low WEI households are less aware of energy services and use less electricity than their spouses. This awareness gap manifests in differences in satisfaction, as women in higher WEI households show more concern with energy services and fuel sources. Overall, these results signify that the "one-size-fits-all" approach of providing energy access may not effectively meet the goal of sustainable energy for all. Bridging the gender gap through targeted information and learning campaigns that empower and educate women could unlock additional support for sustainable energy policies.