Chairs

Energy and Gender

GENERAL

This is a new chair established in 2016.

The Chair contributes to understanding from a social science perspective why the processes of adoption of innovative energy technologies are not always smooth and the role of social actors in these processes. The role of social actors is regarded as critical for the successful implementation of technological innovations such as the adoption of clean energy both on the supply and demand sides. In particular, the chair addresses the role that gender plays in managing the transition to a more sustainable energy system in developing countries.

Energy policies assume that women and men have the same values, experiences and aspirations towards energy production and use. However, it is recognised within social science that in a society gender-based differences in perception, socialization and values exist. There are arguments that ignoring these differences can act as a barrier to the sustainable energy transition. In addition, this transition will also have socio-economic outcomes for which there is some evidence to suggest that these outcomes may be differentiated in terms of gender. To date, the body of independent empirical evidence about the impacts of this energy transition on socio-economic outcomes is relatively small, and even more so in terms of gender differentiated choices of energy forms and outcomes. Yet a gendered perspective is largely absent currently in the formulation and implementation of energy policy, including energy investment planning, which potentially increases the risk to public and private investments. The Chair contributes to building the body of independent empirical evidence about the impacts of this energy transition on socio-economic outcomes from a gender perspective.

The research methodology combines gender and feminist theory with a technological innovations approach from the starting point that the diffusion of a technology is not only influenced by characteristics of the technology and markets but also by actors, institutions and networks.

The aim is to produce new knowledge on the complex links, interdependencies and interactions of the social actors in the energy system with a particular focus on gender issues (while not excluding other factors) which will lead to new, innovative insights into how the transition to a low carbon society may be reached.