The focus of this research is the energy transition in developing Asia and implications for inclusive development, particularly gender equity and social inclusion. Project Leader Dr Reihana Mohideen has been leading this work looking at the rural energy transition and pathways to improve energy access and consequently maximise benefits for gender equity and social inclusion.
Asia’s energy transition is being driven by increasing energy demand and the commitment from developing Asia’s economies to decrease emissions in order to reduce the average rise in global temperatures.
The imperatives of sustainable development have driven the need to integrate social considerations, such as social equity, participatory planning processes and qualitative methodologies into energy sector development. These can range from assessing the sustainability of energy technologies and energy systems modelling to energy planning. A key consideration in current energy scholarship argues that an additional pillar based on the social implications of technologies needs to be included in addition to technology innovation and economic and environmental considerations.
The way we produce and consume energy has to change. While the power grid is undoubtedly an astonishing scientific and engineering achievement that transformed living standards in the last century – female and male life expectancy, maternal mortality, education and more – it now has to change to becomes more sustainable and keep average global warming to below 2 degrees.
The transformation that is taking place has important implications for social inclusion and gender equity. The system of energy production and distribution that has existed for over a century, is also gender biased. It was (and still is, to a large extent) an industry designed and dominated by men. The transformation of the energy sector in Asia has potentially important implications for gender equity and women’s empowerment. It’s in the context of these changes in the energy sector, that this research is situated.