15.8.11

Women influencing energy policy in South Africa

I think the energy needs of women have been neglected in energy planning. It started with the lack of women’s attendance in the energy-related meeting, this showed that women’s participation was not considered as an important issue in the forum, despite the fact that it was a National Forum. Only very few women were brave enough to speak their needs.  Even after WEG was formed, still the gap of ratio for men and women pointed during the development of the final energy document was still significantly shown. Along after one woman has been pointed to be the Deputy Minister for Energy, then women’s participation in the energy field slightly started to take into consideration. This showed that through leadership, a voice began to be heard. In the case study, gender equity was not taken into consideration, since energy planning seemed to be more focused on the objectives and targets as a country in one term, not considering the specific aspects, such as equity. In the 1990s, eras before MDGs, the energy planning was more focused on the effort to increase the supplies of country’s energy needs. For women, particularly whose most activities are done within the households was given low priority. Other reason is the fact the embedded idea of women’s level are below men and the majority of the women’s activities are at home, which does not require much energy. This thought is still considered as a part of a culture, especially developing countries, like Africa, where women are not supposed to do heavy works. Men are considered the most active creatures and require high energy.

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