Empowering all: Gender in policy and implementation for achieving transitions to sustainable energy

Synopsis

The Gender & Energy Task will gather researchers from the fields of gender and energy in a global network to analyse energy policy and technologies from gender perspectives and provide recommendations for policy design and implementation.

Introduction

The role of gender in energy systems has been undervalued in the past. Yet, research has shown that norms and practices linked to gender have an impact on the development of policies, user systems and energy technologies, and that this can lead to the implementation of inefficient and excluding energy solutions. One central issue is that, often energy policies and technologies are assumed to be gender neutral when, in fact, they are gender blind. This means that they neglect the differential impacts on genders as well as socio-economic and cultural groups. Consequently, policies and technologies are less effective and may have unintended effects, hindering transitions to more sustainable energy systems.The aim of this international collaboration is thus to apply gender perspectives to support the participating countries in their work to design a more efficient and inclusive energy system, and through this also support ongoing efforts to foster energy transitions. This is particularly pressing now, as countries develop measures to mitigate the social and economic costs of the current COVID-19 crisis.

Although the assumed gender neutrality of energy policy and energy institutions has been questioned by researchers over several decades, the problems of gender-blind energy policies persist. In addition, social science research on user adaption of energy technologies, including gender research, is often ignored when designing new energy interventions. This new international collaboration sets out to bridge this gap between research and practice.

We will do this by carrying out comparative studies between the participating countries starting from three main questions: What research has already been done in the area, and what “best practices” can we learn from that research? What cultural and material barriers exist within today’s energy institutions that hinder the formulation and implementation of inclusive and gender-aware policies and technologies? How can we use gender perspectives when designing energy technologies and user solutions to ensure they are inclusive and effective? In addition to case studies and research overviews, we will publish educational materials, design new evaluation methods, and develop models and prototypes for new technology and user support. We also plan to organise workshops together with stakeholders in the energy policy and industry communities, to find ways to solve the problems that are identified during the course of the project.

 

Tasks and deliverables

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Main task:  Formulating country-specific briefs for clean, effective and inclusive energy policy, implementation and technological interventions

Aim: The Task will bring science-based evidence on how to formulate and implement clean, effective and inclusive energy policy and interventions. This main task will gather, synthesize and distribute knowledge created in three subtasks. These subtasks are intended to be mutually reinforcing and contribute to the main task.

Deliverables:  Country-specific policy briefs for the Task members focusing on how to practically formulate and implement inclusive user energy policy (where applicable), Repository of case studies and best practices, Educational material, Policy design workshops, Technology design workshops.

 

Subtask 1: Pathways to change: Learning across regions and best practices

Aim: Gather existing research on energy, gender and use. Review state of the art, identify best practices and study these further. In this task, we will focus specifically on how energy policy and planning, directives for funding and energy interventions shape energy use, and compare research done in different countries

Deliverables: Scoping study review, Academic case studies, Report on selected best practices from cases.

 

Subtask 2: Understanding and countering systematic inertias in the sociotechnical energy system hindering gender aware policies and interventions

Aim: To analyse the values and norm systems underlying energy policy making and planning in governments, as well as the logic of energy interventions by the private sector and identify how these norms and values become inertias in the energy transition processes. Develop ways to counter these inertias.

Deliverables: Academic case studies, Tool for comparative assessment of national user policies, Report synthesizing and comparing   case studies and presenting the tool.

 

Subtask 3:Designing inclusive and efficient technological interventions

Aim: To collaborate with designers within the energy sector as well as with user organizations to develop guidelines and prototypes for more gender aware and efficient technologies and interventions. This includes methods for collecting user data and user engagement.

Deliverables: Educational materials and guidelines for developing gender aware and efficient user technologies and interventions, New templates for gathering user data, Models and prototypes for inclusive technology.

 

Contacts

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For more information on the Task, please contact Anna Åberg, Chalmers University of Technology anna.aberg@chalmers.se

Participation

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Annex duration: 1 Janaury 2021 – 31 December 2023

Participating countries: