This study seeks to bring gender issues into the political economy analysis of the dynamics in access and use of modern energy services, chiefly clean cooking energy, (such as LPG or biogas), and modern energy in agriculture (such as electricity, diesel and solar power). In looking at modern energy services we distinguish between three levels of analysis— that of the availability at the macro or national level, of access at the meso or community and household level, and of use at the level of the individual woman. In each of these spheres, i.e. availability, access and use, we look at the role of women and gender relations. The central research question is: how can rural women be empowered to gain access to and use modern energy services in both household and production activities in the rural economy? With the results of our analysis we look at the meta-question: how does the introduction of gender make a difference to political economy analysis?