Empowering women and improving their status is essential to realizing women’s full economic, political and social development potential. If the energy sector development is to contribute to economic growth and broader development goals, then gender equality matters. Access to clean cooking energy is a particularly gendered issue because women are primarily responsible for cooking in virtually all cultures. Cooking energy access will be a key contributor to meeting Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on gender equality and poverty reduction.
The World Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (WLPGA) identified Household Air Pollution (HAP) from smoke inducing coal and Biomass results in one death every 16 seconds, mostly women and young children. The risks and deaths related to Household Air Pollution disproportionately affect women and children, the ones collecting solid fuel and cooking with it. Women exposed to heavy indoor smoke are 2-3 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Modern stoves and fuels can save women’s time and effort both in fuel collection and in cooking, and women perceive this as a major advantage of LPG. Norms about responsibilities for care and housework means that women in nearly all countries work longer hours than men, with a ‘triple burden’ of market work, housework and family care.
Increasing household use of LPG is one of several pathways to meet the objective of universal access to clean cooking and heating solutions by 2030, one of the three targets of SDG Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) along with doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. For the first time, access to cooking and heating energy, the most important energy need for poor women, is treated as a global and national target on an equal footing with access to electricity.
Time saved and reduced drudgery due to fuel switching can enable women to take advantage of development and empowerment opportunities. The majority of fuel collection and transport is carried out by women and girls, with head loads of 20kg or more, and distances of up to 12km travelled not uncommon in rural areas like Nigeria and other developing countries. In some countries and cultures, men and boys also collect firewood, especially when distances and loads are greater.
LPG in Nigeria advocates for the use, adoption and distribution of LPG in Nigerian women, especially for its positive impact on women’s health and that of their households. We are of the opinion that the adoption of LPG by Nigerian women will empower them to live healthier and more sustainable lives while alleviating climate change. These are some recommendations from us on LPG as an empowerment tool for women.
LPG assures of better emissions and health outcome.
Empowering women in Nigeria with knowledge and control of LPG. By so doing, women’s fears of LPG safety are alleviated and good practice measures are encouraged.
Adoption of LPG by Nigerian women can help to diversify women’s livelihood. This is achieved by using LPG to improve profitability of women’s enterprises and engaging women in the LPG supply chain.
Linking modern cooking fuels with women's empowerment. By this we mean–women’s organisations can influence household energy policy and discussions on the global energy mix and climate change. Financial inclusion is key to expanding access to modern cooking fuels. Finally, global partnership can be more effective in implementation by working with women’s networks.