Dialogue Series on Just Energy Transition: Women in Inclusive and Sustainable Energy
WISE and Just Transition
The Paris Agreement, which calls for limiting the rise of global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing ambitious efforts to limit below 1.5°C, also takes into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities. The Agreement also acknowledges the obligation of its parties to the most vulnerable sectors, and promotes gender equality and empowerment of women. This also reflects its adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the United Nations, 80% of the people displaced by climate change are women. Low income communities and those living in areas prone to extreme weather and slow onset events, like typhoons and sea water level rise, respectively, are most vulnerable to the changing climate, especially women. The lack of opportunities and family income that could have been used to support their studies leave many women uneducated, and, therefore, end up becoming more dependent on their communities and families, and vulnerable to hunger, abuse and exploitation.
The story is not different in the Philippines. Other than the systematic social and economic injustice women already face every day, like societal bias towards men and sexual harassment, women are also more burdened by the effects of climate change. During the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, 300,000 pregnant women and new mothers needed extra assistance. Mothers taking care of their children were also immobilized in evacuation centers.
In the energy sector, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), despite making up 48% of the global workforce, only 22% of the traditional sector are women. Energy is the highest carbon emitting industry and our work towards decarbonization should include women. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) also stated that women are the primary users of energy in the households since they are the ones at home most of the time.
Empowering women and giving them space to participate in the just energy transition will help lessen their vulnerability. Early action on a just transition can minimize the negative impacts and maximize positive opportunities towards low carbon development.
WISE AND JUST
The Center for Empowerment, Innovation and Training on Renewable Energy (CentRE) envisions an inclusive and sustainable society where people and communities live in dignity, control their energy future, and enjoy access to reliable, affordable and clean energy attained through a transition that is just and democratic.
In line with this vision, In June 2021, the CentRE, embarked on an initiative in collaboration with its members and partners. This provides a venue and facilitates exchanges among women where they can share their stories about their energy situation, how they are affected by and deal with it, and what are their solutions or recommendations to address their energy concerns.
This initiative is called Women in Inclusive and Sustainable Energy (WISE) and Just Transition: A Dialogue Series on Women, Inclusive and Sustainable Energy, and Just Transition. It aims to: a) document the situation and recommendations of women v.v. energy access and RE deployment; b) engage policy makers towards adopting more gender equal/inclusive energy policies and programs; and c) bring forth a network or pool of women who will advocate for gender-responsive, inclusive and sustainable energy and just energy transition.
The WISE and Just Transition Dialogue Series include activities such as Focused group discussions, forums, dialogues with policy-makers, and media briefings. The CentRE members and partners active in this project are the Active Citizenship Foundation (ACF), Association of Isolated Electric Cooperative, Center for Power Issues and Initiatives, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Romblon Electric Cooperative, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Kaabag sa Sugbu (Cebu), and Lingap sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan (LIKAS, Irosin).