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Inclusiveness by design? Reviewing sustainable electricity access and entrepreneurship from a gender perspective

Journal article
Authors O. Osunmuyiwa
Helene Ahlborg
Published in Energy Research & Social Science
Volume 53
Pages 145-158
ISSN 2214-6296
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 145-158
Language en
Keywords Gender and energy, Gender and entrepreneurship, Electricity access, Women's empowerment, womens empowerment, rural electrification, advancing debate, energy, poverty, social-science, discourse, impact, embeddedness, framework, identity, Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Subject categories Gender Studies


There is a substantial literature analysing the role of electricity as a catalyst for economic development. However, there are significant knowledge gaps in whether such systems are or can indeed be designed in a gender sensitive way to promote equal opportunity for socially inclusive entrepreneurship at the local level. We make three main contributions with this paper. First, we carry out a literature review to unpack the gender-electricity-entrepreneurship nexus by identifying the agenda of the gender-energy and gender-entrepreneurship literature respectively and how they intersect and understand gender over time. Second, we synthesise key factors identified as hindering and driving empowerment in relation to electricity and entrepreneurship and identify the weaknesses of the respective literature. Third, we outline the contours of the conceptual intersection and develop a framework which shows how electricity systems can be designed to become favourable and economically empowering for both men and women. Furthermore, we demonstrate how local value chains can benefit from this electric inclusiveness. Finally, with our framework, we develop recommendations for strategic action and identify points of intervention in policy, planning, design and operation of electricity systems.

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