FAO activities generate data and information to fill knowledge gaps realted to energy and gender, particularly in developing countries. This data will inform the economic and gender work done by FAO to strengthen the assessment of the role that energy consumption and energy production from bioenergy may play in agriculture, food security, decent work, gender and poverty reduction.

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The impact of bioenergy

In recent years, questions have been raised about the different ways modern bioenergy production, especially liquid biofuels, affect males and females. The sector may offer new economic and employment opportunities for rural populations, but it may also create risks in terms of unfair conditions of employment, health and safety, child labour and forced labour. These opportunities and risks tend to affect men and women differently. This is due mainly to gender-differentiated access to both physical and economic assets such as land, natural resources, agricultural equipment and inputs, and credit. For example, one option suggested for bioenergy crop production is to grow these crops on marginal lands. However, marginal lands are particularly important for women, who traditionally use these lands for growing crops for domestic consumption.

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Gathering gender-disaggregated data on energy

FAO’s work focuses on mainstreaming gender into rural development, including energy planning and decision-making. This requires, as a first step, the collection of relevant data to better qualify and quantify the relationship between energy and gender under different situations. For example, information is needed about how men and women consider their energy needs and what actions they perceive as most beneficial. FAO’s work provides a foundation to ensure that the gender issues are incorporated into assessments about how the impacts from energy production and energy use may impact men and women differently.

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last updated:  Tuesday, March 5, 2013