Energy poverty

The burden of energy poverty falls heaviest on women in Asia and the Pacific. In the absence of access to modern energy, nearly 2 billion people in the region depend on wood, charcoal, or dung for cooking and heating their homes. The collection of these fuels is left to women and children and, on average, uses 20 hours out of their week, but some may spend 40% of their waking hours trying to secure fuel.

This takes away precious time from any other activities, whether generating extra income, pursuing an education, or caring for children. The use of these fuels, which burn poorly and produce a great deal of smoke, affects the health of both women and children through indoor air pollution, causing a number of serious respiratory ailments, from infections to lung cancer. While everyone deserves access to modern energy, addressing energy poverty among women generates some of the greatest benefits and changes. —