Power Africa Hosted Energy&HER: GBV and Electricity: What’s Light Got To Do With It?

Power Africa Hosted Energy&HER: GBV and Electricity: What’s Light Got To Do With It? image
Gender-based violence (GBV) – what’s light got to do with it? Well, more than you might think.
In an energy industry where only 20% of the workforce is made up of women, the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with GBV are sadly all-too real. However, beyond this direct impact of energy on issues like sexual harassment and violence, there are also indirect correlations between access to electrification and GBV.

Given Africa’s current transition and strive for universal access, this means that both sides of the equation must be explored by the continent’s energy decision-makers, to improve levels of safety for all women.
“It’s important to address the lack of access to reliable energy that we know is a key element that contributes to GBV,” affirmed Marie Anna Benard, Project Manager, responsAbility.

These indirect impacts include having access to information, for example. Women in electrified households have more exposure to different world views and of what is acceptable behaviour, which gives them a better understanding of their rights. 

From an economic empowerment perspective, electrification can facilitate a stronger sense of financial control or employment opportunities which also correlates with a greater assurance of what is acceptable or not. 
Public lighting further contributes to feelings of safety when traveling out of daylight hours, while education that is facilitated by electrification can help to offset particularly concerning trends such as enforced childhood marriage.

All of these indirect impacts should combine with direct industry efforts from within the energy sector, to offset overall levels of risk when it comes to GBV.