Women are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. They need modern and affordable energy to keep up the fight and support the recovery, to make their communities and businesses more resilient for the next pandemic. The coronavirus crisis is putting an unprecedented and enormous strain on the global economy and public health systems, and on the energy supply and access systems that support them. It is also highlighting and magnifying inequalities and the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that women and girls face, including in the energy sector. The pandemic is moving beyond a global health crisis and morphing into a labor market, social and economic crisis, posing a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods, especially in the small business and informal sectors that already face energy access challenges. Energy access remains as important as ever for households and businesses, as pointed out by the World Bank and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, with health infrastructure and women’s role in care stressed. Further, traditional cooking smoke may pose an additional risk for women if infected.
This brief is a first look at some critical areas where ENERGIA and its national and international Partners plan to support the international fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on gender and energy, while also ensuring future resilience and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly SDG 5 on gender and SDG 7 on energy.