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New paper on women's empowerment & energy access on the cover of Nature Energy



Abstract

Energy access delivers broad socio-economic benefits, but few studies have examined how benefits are allocated within the household. Here 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. Improved energy access can bring socio-economic benefits, yet these may not be evenly distributed within the household. Zhang et al. conduct a large-scale survey in India and find gender-based disparities in energy services within households.




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