Women training to be solar engineers in Peru

Our work areas

Energy and Gender Equality

18 hours

Women spend up to 18 hours a week collecting fuel for cooking.


A study across 72 countries found that women represent only 6% of ministerial positions responsible for national energy policies and programs.

3.2 million

people die prematurely from exposure to household air pollution, the majority of them women and children.


Energy poverty disproportionately affects women and girls.

Access to energy is a precondition for health, education and economic prosperity – an essential multiplier to meet every Sustainable Development Goal, including SDG 5 for gender equality. Until access gaps are closed, gender equality cannot be achieved. Lack of access to modern energy has disproportionate negative impacts on women’s and girls’ health and safety due to their care work burdens – from exposure to indoor air pollution from cooking with dirty fuels, to the heavy loads and risks of traveling long distances to collect biomass. These tasks contribute to the overwhelming time poverty of women and girls, which limits their opportunities for engaging in income generation, education or leisure.

Clean energy can be transformative for gender equality. When women own and benefit from productive uses of energy, such as for paid work or for healthcare, opportunities for economic empowerment and resilience are unleashed. Further, the greening of the energy sector provides the chance to redress labour segregation in the sector and ensure women have new and better labour opportunities.  

Too often, the energy sector as a whole – from industry to policymaking – fails to include women as energy users, decision-makers or powerful drivers of a just energy transition. But when a gender perspective is prioritized, clean energy projects and policies can enable development for whole communities – leaving no one behind.    

UNDP aims to close gender gaps in access to modern, sustainable energy. With an ambitious goal of closing energy gaps for 500 million people by 2025, UNDP will work to ensure at least half are women.

Our focus

In line with our Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025, UNDP aims to ensure that our energy policy support and programming contributes to gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

For example, UNDP focuses on:

  • Leveraging energy access to unleash women’s economic empowerment, ensuring that women gain ownership of energy assets and benefit from the productive use of energy.  This also includes working with public and private firms to create opportunities for women across energy value chains and guiding national plans and budgets to include the jobs and services that women want.
  • Supporting energy investments that reduce time poverty, especially pursuing strategies to ensure energy access and technology consider the needs and preferences of women, particularly in vulnerable households, as a tool to save women’s time and obviate the need for additional chores. Clean cooking solutions such as electric and more efficient stoves and subsidies for appliances most often used by women are also key.
  • Promoting the inclusion of women in energy governance, guiding ‘energy democracy’ that includes community control over energy management and consumption, such as through energy cooperatives. These can open opportunities for women in leadership and employment while making energy cheaper, more available, sustainable, and aligned with local needs.
  • Galvanizing new knowledge to guide a just energy transition that contributes to gender equality, connecting policymakers, women and women’s groups, and other stakeholders to pursue energy for development that is resilient, sustainable and equitable.