Partner NewsShine Updates

An opinion piece by  Shine Steering Committee members Sheila Oparaocha (ENERGIA) and Ajaita Shah (Frontier Markets) along with Elizabeth Cecelski (ENERGIA), Rabia Ferroukhi (IRENA), Dymphna van der Lans (Clean Cooking Alliance), Irene Giner-Reichl (GWNET), and Monica Maduekwe (ECREEE)


Women are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. They need modern and affordable energy to keep up the fight and to support the economic recovery, to make their households, communities and businesses more resilient.  The short-term effects of the pandemic for energy access and for women are devastating and need to be mitigated. But there are also opportunities to address long-standing inequalities in energy access and to promote women’s empowerment in the energy sector, if we do things differently moving forward.

Understanding the connections between the present pandemic, the looming climate crisis, and long-standing gender disparities can help us devise solutions with multiple benefits. As economies re-open and governments include sustainable energy options in recovery packages, we see four major opportunities to address long-standing inequalities and promote women’s empowerment in the energy sector:

  • Women and men should get equal opportunities to participate in and support the clean energy economy, as entrepreneurs and employees, and equal funding and investment for their businesses;
  • The energy sector must mitigate gender-based vulnerabilities that have worsened with the pandemic, in health care, gender-based violence, and the digital economy;
  • Women need better energy access and suitable appliances to support their roles in the care economy. Clean cooking is of special importance here.
  • Women need to have a place at the table – or create their own tables – when strategies about energy transitions and post recovery strategies are planned and decided on.