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Just Transitions: Assessing Gender Dimensions

This podcast discusses the gender dimensions of just transitions and offers recommendations for policy planning and implementation.

This podcast focuses on the gender and social dimensions of just transitions.  Adrienne Cruz with the International Labor Organization and May Thazin Aung with the Stockholm Environment Institute join Sarah Ladislaw from CSIS’s Energy Security and Climate Change Program to explore gender dimensions and strategies to support gender equitable outcomes and processes. 

They discuss lessons from past experiences, as well as the need for gender responsive policies that address women’s unique challenges and needs and that promote their involvement in decision-making processes.   

Participants

  • Sarah Ladislaw: SVP, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy Security and Climate Change Program
  • May Thazin Aung: Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Adrienne Cruz: Senior Gender Specialist, International Labor Institute
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Just Transition Concepts and Relevance for Climate Action

This report explains the origins and evolution of just transitions, and offers a framework to represent the range of definitions as well as underlying ideologies and approaches.

Detail

This report outlines the origins of just transitions in the US labor movement, the later adoption of the concept by the environmental and climate justice movements, and its role in international climate negotiations. The authors note that the term “just transitions” evokes a range of responses, from enthusiasm to confusion to outright skepticism, suggesting the need for a clear definition.

The paper presents a framework to capture the range of definitions and interpretations of just transitions. One key dimension is scope, including both distributional impacts—or who and what is affected in transitions—as well as intention (the ideological preference between reforming or transforming existing political and economic systems through just transitions). The other dimension in the framework is social inclusion, or the range of recognition and procedural justice for various groups. The framework does not seek to identify a single “correct” definitions of just transitions, but rather captures a range of ideologies and approaches to the concept.

A final section of the paper suggests that the next stage of just transitions work will be to advance solutions and to apply lessons learned. The authors list several priorities for future research including concrete tools and strategies, more case studies of developing countries, more effective social engagement, and new financing methods.

Assessing the Gender and Social Equity Dimensions of Energy Transitions

Through a systemic analysis of academic literature, this report explores the state of knowledge on how the diffusion of low-carbon technologies impacts gender and social equity.

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There is a lack of dedicated research and knowledge on the gender and social equity implications of low-carbon energy transitions. This paper examines these justice implications through a systemic analysis of peer-reviewed literature.

The authors explore the general trends and interconnectedness of the positive and negative impacts of introducing low-carbon technologies, most of which are broadly related to economics. Poverty alleviation and energy self-sufficiency were the dominant positive impacts, while issues of land loss and displacement were the dominant negative ones. The authors explore the broader implications on female gender roles, poverty and employment, land loss, and (un)equal access through specific examples in the academic literature.

Based on their findings, they conclude that low-carbon energy systems are not inherently more inclusive or empowering than traditional energy systems. The outcome of a transition is not determined by the technology itself, but rather the ways in which the technology interplays with the existing sociocultural, socioeconomic, and institutional context. They emphasize the need for inclusive institutional arrangements that ensure a just process and provide general recommendations based on these needs.

 

Low-carbon Transitions in West Sumatra, Indonesia: Gender and Equity Dimensions

This brief provides community perspectives on renewable energy projects, focusing on gender and social equity concerns in low-carbon transitions in West Sumatra, Indonesia.

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This brief provides snapshots of community perspectives on renewable energy projects in West Sumatra, Indonesia, and suggests that customized approaches are needed to address local gender and social equity concerns effectively in low-carbon transitions.

West Sumatra was selected for this study due to its high potential for renewable energy generation and diversity of possible renewable energy sources. The authors reviewed four development sites in West Sumatra as transition examples: two geothermal projects, one micro hydro project, and an oil palm company that produces biofuel and also uses waste as biomass for energy production. They conducted interviews and focus group discussions that illuminate local gender and social equity implications, which often related to customary land management practices and gender roles. They also explore lessons learned from Indonesia’s subsidy program for liquified petroleum gas.

The authors argue that policymakers should adopt a gender-sensitive approach to renewable energy decision-making to identify potential policy repercussions that could worsen existing inequalities. This approach will produce results that benefit more people and satisfy the needs of more interest groups.

Gender in the Transition to Sustainable Energy for All: From Evidence to Inclusive Policies

This report summarizes a five-year research program investigating the links between gender, energy, and poverty and offers energy policy recommendations based on its findings.

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This report synthesizes a five-year research program investigating the links between gender, energy, and poverty. The objective was to analyze the benefits of a gender-aware approach in energy access interventions. Nine research teams from 29 research institutions, including 21 in the Global South, conducted research in 12 countries. Using a mixed-methods approach, the researchers examined gender, energy, and poverty linkages in six thematic areas. They sought to explore the potential for adopting a gender-aware approach to energy access that could enhance equity between women and men and empower women through improved access to modern energy services.

Modern energy services and appliances, in the household and in micro- and small-scale enterprises, can change gender roles and dynamics of power. The research examined how these norms can change over time, what causes them to change, and how they vary across different contexts. It identified three levels at which factors influence decision-making and power relations between women and men: the micro level of households; the meso level of local government agencies and women’s organizations; and the macro level of national policymaking.

The authors provide recommendations for energy policy and practice based on a gender-aware approach, understanding that the ways in which gender norms influence needs, access, and control over energy services differ between communities.