Ensuring that women and girls have energy access is not just about women’s rights, it’s a fundamental human rights issue. A number of quantitative and qualitative studies have shown that clean energy access is linked with better chances for girls to complete primary education and for women to earn better wages, while it also contributes to a reduction in gender-based violence.

What clean energy access can do for women is only half the story.  There is a strong case for what women can do to expand clean energy access and to fight on the front lines against climate change.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that about 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and rely on traditional energy sources like wood, charcoal, dung and agricultural residue for cooking and heating. Relief Web further estimates that 70 per cent of people living in poverty in rural areas are women and girls and lack of access to energy constitutes a large part of this poverty. A recent United Nations study shows that women face the worst consequences from lack of access to clean and modern energy, particularly in developing countries. Women have to go through the time-consuming and physically draining task of collecting firewood and other sources of fossil fuel for their daily energy use. Furthermore, the World Health Organization, further states that there is noticeable rise in pollutant-based diseases, which includes respiratory illness.

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