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Women in energy: UNECE supports strengthened capacities and knowledge among officials and stakeholders from Central Asia

What are the interlinkages between Sustainable Development Goals on sustainable energy (SDG 7) and gender equality (SDG 5)? How can improving understanding of gender dimensions within the energy sector and promoting women’s participation in energy-related decision-making drive progress in both goals?

As part of UNECE’s work to promote women in energy, a workshop held on 1 October in Astana, Kazakhstan, focused on how promoting clean and affordable energy can empower women. This provided an opportunity to build capacities and raise awareness among Government officials and key stakeholders from Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries across a range of areas for advancing women’s role in the energy sector, including:

  • Enhancing knowledge of the differentiated access to energy resources and use of energy services by women and men in rural and urban settings;
  • Mapping gaps in women’s participation in energy-related decision-making and in the energy sector more broadly, including in planning processes;
  • Developing gender-responsive policy recommendations to ensure gender equality in access to sustainable energy, to increase women’s participation in decision-making and management of the energy and related sectors, and in opportunities for jobs and career development;
  • Improving coordination and collaboration among government institutions and agencies, civil society, academia and other stakeholders to empower women in the energy sector.

The workshop was hosted by UNECE in cooperation with UNDP and KAZENERGY as part of the World Petroleum Council Meeting.

Opened by Ms. Byrganym Aitimova, Chair of the Parliament Committee on Social-Cultural Development and Science, the workshop also provided a valuable platform to learn from different countries’ experiences of promoting women in energy.

For example, a gender/energy study for Kazakhstan presented energy-related challenges for women in different regions of the country, while an expert from the USA highlighted the benefits of gender inclusion in the utilities sector, also outlining the current state of women’s participation in energy around the world and strategies to improve gender equality.

Representatives from KAZENERGY Women Association, Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan, national energy companies as well as representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan shared insights into national goals and challenges. These include fighting stereotypes, addressing gender roles in the household, developing women’s leadership, expanding women’s professional opportunities, implementing mentoring development programmes for girls, and enhancing girls’ involvement in science and technology.

Across all sectors, gender equality is fundamental to sustainable development. Find out more about UNECE’s support to advancing gender equality: https://www.unece.org/gender.html