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.
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.
Deliverables to be published:
- Swedish case
- Austrian case
- Dutch case
- Executive Game
- Policy briefs Subtask 2
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.
Subtask 1 – Pathways to change: Learning across regions and best practices
Subtask 2 – Understanding and countering systematic inertias in the sociotechnical energy system hindering gender aware policies and interventions
- Austria’s Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, Mission 2030, Langfriststrategie 2050, and Regierungsprogramm 2020-2024: A critical analysis, by Azadeh Badieijaryani, Beatrix Hausner, Samira Karner, David Horvath (ÖGUT), 2022
- Mariëlle Feenstra (Delft University of Technology) has written a policy brief for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) as input for the the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66). The policy brief focussed on gender and climate change, emphasising women’s role in the energy transition and the gender face of energy poverty. Feenstra’s recommendations were mentioned by the Minister in his speech to the general assembly. A follow up meeting to discuss these recommendations will be planned with the Minister of Energy and Climate. The policy brief can be found in the report “Klimaatverandering & Gender”.
- Joy Clancy was asked by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee) of the European Parliament to make a gender impact assessment of the Fit4Fiftyfive Package (the package of legislation proposed by the EU Commission to meet the EU’s 2030 climate goals). Kavya Michael from Chalmers is a reviewer and Marielle Feenstra is contributing as an expert. This work is a part of bringing the results and research of the task to the EU policy makers.
The report was discussed at a workshop 8 December 2022.
- Publication: Wågström Angelica and Michael, Kavya: Caring for energy, energy to care: Exploring the energy-care nexus through examples from Sweden and India, Journal for Energy research and Social Science (Science Direct)
- Publication: Hauser. B, Badieijaryani, A. et. al.: Austria’s Integrated Energy and Climate Plan. A critical analysis This is a first case study on Austria’s Integrated Energy and Climate plan, published by ÖGUT in German
Deliverables to be published:
- Swedish case
- Austrian case
- Dutch case
- Executive Game
- Policy briefs Subtask 2
Subtask 3 – Designing inclusive and efficient technological interventions
- Fact sheet: “Creating energy technologies, that are meaningful and usable for all” (in English and in German). The ÖGUT research group has developed a fact sheet with advice for technology developers for how to include gender perspectives when designing user technology. The fact sheet has been developed through workshops with practitioners.
- Reihana Mohideen (University of Melbourne) leads the working group within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) developing GESI standards for digital technology development. Anna Åberg is also a member of this working group, in order to help integrate the work of the task to the IEEE GESI work. A white paper was published by the working group in the fall 2022, and is now available on the IEEE SA DIITA website.
The White paper was presented at the ISTAS conference Ethics day ETHICS DAY @ ISTAS 2022 – ISTAS 22
- ECEEE Summer Study, Hyeres, France. Sylvia Breukers & Marten Boekelo “Gender, expertise and control in Dutch residential smart grid pilots” (paper & ptt). (6-9 June 2022)
- ECPR Conference, Innsbruck, Sylvia Breukers & Marten Boekelo: “Revisiting the smart grid promise: Residential smart grid experiments as sites of contestation”. (paper &ppt) (24-29 August 2022)
- Boyle, E., Galvin, M., Revez, A., Deane, A., Ó Gallachóir, B., Mullally, G. (2022) Flexibility & structure: Community engagement on climate action & large infrastructure delivery, Energy Policy, 167, 113050.
- Dunphy, N. P., & Lennon, B. Whose Transition? A Review of Citizen Participation in the Energy System. Routledge Handbook of Energy Transitions, 2022 (taylorfrancis.com)
- Foulds, C., et. al, including Dunphy N. from the Gender & Energy task: An agenda for future Social Sciences and Humanities research on energy efficiency: 100 priority research questions. Humanities and social sciences communications, 9(1), 1-18. (Nature.com)
- Two sessions organised by the task at the ERSS in Manchester, with participation form the majority of our task members. (20-24 June 2022)
ERSS session 10: Closing the gender gap in energy policies for a just transition:
- When smart energy technologies meet everyday household labour: gendered practices and negotiations. Sylvia Breukers*, Aggeli Aggeliki, Marten Boekelo, Toke Haunstrup
- Care Labour as Energy Transition: Ethnographic Accounts from Sweden. Angelica Wågström
- When energy turned intersectional. Analysing the women lead call for a small-scale renewable decentralised energy network in Sweden 1971-1981. Martin Hultman
- Energy, sense-making and gender: exploring public perceptions of new technologies. Alexandra Revez, Niall Dunphy
- Barriers and Enablers of Gender Just Transitions in India: A comparative case study analysis. Kavya Michael, Swati Pillai, Arunima Hakku
- A gender just energy policy framework to engender the energy transition in Europe. Mariëlle Feenstra, Gül Özerol
ERSS Session 25: Gender in Energy Transitions: Mapping the conceptual and methodological landscapes. Organised by the task with external speakers.
- Energy & Society Conference (Trento/online) “Integrating gender into energy policy design: the Rwandan approach” Marielle Feenstra (presenting), Joy Clancy, Helene Ahlborg, Samuel John Unsworth, Sylvere Hategekimana (11 February 2021)
- Panel participation at the BEHAVE-conference “Is energy efficiency (fe)male? The role of gender for sustainable energy use”, including Joy Clancy and Martin Hultman (21 April 2021)
- European Consortium for Political Research General Conference. Marielle Feenstra presented joint case study for Subtask 1 and Subtask 2 (31 August 2021)
- Gender in the Green New Deal”. Conference participation highlighting UsersTCP work by Joy Clancy (2 September 2021)
- Participation by Marielle Feenstra and Joy Clancy in the SIET conference organised by TU Delft, the Netherlands. Presentation of Executive Game and the Gender Just Energy Policy framework. (November 2021)
Newsletter #3 – May 2023
Newsletter #2 – May 2022
Newsletter #1 – November 2021
- Contribution to SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme (webinar), ‘Energy Poverty – a growing social issue’ by Dr Niall Dunphy (January)
- Dr Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa and Dr Helene Ahlborg: “Reframing power and gender struggles in energy projects as territoriality and place-making” Presentation in on-line lecture series on Energy, Gender and Space, organised by the UK’s Royal Geographic Society’s Energy Geographies and Gender Group (EnGRG). (21 January)
- Contribution to SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme (webinar), ‘Overview of energy behaviour change initiatives’ by Dr Alexandra Revez, Cork, Ireland (February)
- Reihana Mohideen (University of Melbourne, Leader of the IEEE Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Workstream) and Anna Åberg (Chalmers University of Technology) participated in the UsersTCP academy webinar “How can energy standards help to promote Gender Equality and Social Inclusion?” (9 March)
- Sylvia Breukers(Duneworks) presented in the UsersTCP webinar #32 Gender, expertise and control in Dutch smart grid pilots. Interoperability of smart energy management and household management – Sylvia Breukers (DuneWorks, Netherlands) Recording https://youtu.be/s0W09CDmXeA
- ASSET EnergyTransition Webinar GIRL POWER: the role of women in the energy transition, including Joy Clancy (24 March 2021)
- Webinar Horizon 2020 project SCCALE “Engendering the energy transition: what’s in it for municipalities” including Joy Clancy and Marielle Feenstra (26 April 2021)
- Including gender: policy choices towards a just energy transition. Presented by MariëlleFeenstra – University of Twente, Joy Clancy – University of Twente and Martin Hultman – Chalmers University. Presentation Slides. (12 May 2021)
- Joy Clancy: “Have we got the measure of gender and energy?” Presentation in on-line lecture series on Energy, Gender and Space, organised by the UK’s Royal Geographic Society’s Energy Geographies and Gender Group (EnGRG), (2 November)
All UsersTCP academy webinars are available from the Leonardo ENERGY YouTube channel: User-Centred Energy Systems Academy