#ClimateJusticeThursday: Women and girls in Africa have a right to clean energy

clean energy - climateaction

#ClimateJusticeThursday: Women and girls in Africa have a right to clean energy

Hello readers. Welcome to #ClimateJusticeThursday on CleanbuildVoices!

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to ensure access to sustainable, affordable, and clean energy for all and this is significant not only because one in five people lack access to modern electricity, but also because energy use accounts for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate change.

Energy is core for creating opportunities for all people in the world but because it is often unsustainable, it is also one of the greatest challenges that the world faces. However, the need for clean and affordable energy access isn’t solely a global issue.

For women and girls in Africa, access to clean and sustainable energy is not only important but beneficial to them because most of their traditional gender roles rely on energy. Most of these women and girls are without access to clean and affordable energy and because of this, they spend over 40% of family income on inefficient and dangerous energy sources like candles and kerosene lamps.

This exposes them to toxins from the fuels that they use and constant exposure negatively affects their health and safety.

Aside from their exposure to toxins, these women and girls miss out on educational opportunities and livelihoods due to the lack of reliable light and because they devote their time to household chores, walking long distances to collect firewood for cooking and warming their homes.

As we work towards mitigating climate change and its effects, we need to ensure women and girls have access to clean energy as it is linked with better chances for them to be educated, earn better wages, and curb gender-based violence.

Ensuring energy access for women and girls goes beyond women’s rights. It is a fundamental human rights concern and we need to involve them in the clean energy conversation. Integrating them into all levels of clean energy innovation will lead to more effective clean energy initiatives.

Women and girls must be at the frontlines of the fight for energy access because they are directly involved by virtue of what they do in their homes.

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