Empowering women. Literally.


Access to energy is important – especially for women. A report recently released by the International Energy Agency notes that energy and clean cooking facilities benefit women the most, freeing up billions of hours previously allocated to gathering fuel. Energy Access Outlook: from Poverty to Prosperity, which is part of the World Energy Outlook series, assesses universal energy access and examines strategies for providing universal access to electricity and clean-cooking facilities in developing countries. The first-of-its-kind, historical analysis of 140 countries found:

  • 1.1 billion people lacked energy access in 2016, down from 1.6 billion in 2000.
  • 2.8 billion people still rely on biomass, coal and kerosene for cooking, roughly the same number as in 2000. Use of these fuels for cooking disproportionally impacts women.
  • 2.3 billion people are predicted to remain without access to clean cooking facilities in 2030.
  • 2.5 million people die prematurely each year as result of household air pollution.
  • Reducing household air pollution is anticipated to prevent 1.8 million premature deaths per year.

The report notes that providing universal access to energy by 2030 would require an investment of $31 billion per year, equivalent to less than 2 percent of global energy investment. Additionally, increased energy access would not increase global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since the use of biomass for cooking (and the associated higher GHG emissions) would be eliminated. It is estimated that increased access to energy would save women one hour per day, time previously spent obtaining fuel.

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