Unlocking the Economic Benefits of Productive Uses of Energy for Women

The productive use of energy is considered to be an essential element to unleash the income generation and poverty reduction potential of energy access interventions. Based on this assumption and the fact that women in developing countries experience energy poverty and access to decent work differently and more acutely than men, this research aims to assess how a gendered approach to electricity supply can be implemented to promote benefits to women.

We aim at improving the understanding of gender and productive uses of energy by answering two key questions. First, what is the evidence that there are differential impacts for men and women of current approaches for the promotion of productive uses of energy? and second what is the evidence that a gendered approach could lead to more gender equitable outcomes?

Our research focuses on productive uses of energy in enterprises with more than 3 employees located in rural and peri-urban communities in Ghana, Tanzania and Myanmar.  We focus on interventions that provide Tier 4 or 5 access to electricity as well as support to productive uses and, in some cases, gender mainstreaming.

We aim at influencing policy and planning of micro-grids at a moment when the terms of reference for their development are being designed in our target countries. These TOR could include gender and productive uses related requirements on the basis of the evidence we provide. Additionally, our research will contribute to the design of planning tools that take into account women’s work patterns (geographic location, time when power is required, and ability to pay).

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Project details

start date
1 March 2017
end date
31 January 2019


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About this project


Recent work


A Gender Approach to the Promotion of Productive Uses of Electricity

IDS Policy Briefing;162

Interventions promoting productive use of electricity (PUE) without gender approaches are more likely to benefit men than women. Men typically own more businesses and operate in a wider range of more productive, electricity‑intensive activities. Gender approaches improve the effectiveness of...

10 July 2019

Journal Article

Linking Energy Access, Gender and Poverty: A Review of the Literature on Productive Uses of Energy

Energy Research & Social Science Volume 53

This article reviews the empirical literature about gender and productive uses of energy, focusing on electricity, to answer three research questions: do men and women obtain different benefits from the Productive Use of Electricity (PUE)?; which gendered constraints affect women’s chances to...

26 March 2019