Webinar - What does women's empowerment mean in the quest for universal electricity access?
Webinar on

What does women's empowerment mean in the quest for
universal electricity access?

26 September 2017 [Tuesday]


How has 'empowerment' been conceptualized in studies of electricity's gendered impacts? Why has there been a divide between established notions of empowerment (i.e. women's political, social and economic empowerment) on the one hand and, on the other, gender goals in energy interventions and adhering research, which tend to focus on electricity's impact on welfare indicators? In order to answer these questions a webinar was organized by the international research project, EFEWEE, on 26 September, 2017 with the aim to discuss how a more coherent understanding of women's empowerment in the realm of electricity could help governments, donors, NGOs and local communities achieve multiple goals through increased provision of electricity access (through grid, off-grid and stand-alone systems).

For example, how could a refined understanding of empowerment help tap the potential for producing more gender equality through electricity interventions? How could the proposed concept of empowerment (and adhering measures within policy, programs and projects) enhance the systems for the provision and maintenance of access? Which bottlenecks (gender equality/equity and more reliable access) can be overcome through electricity interventions alone and which depend on policies and practices in other sectors?

The webinar started with Dr Tanja Winther, EFEWEE Project Lead proposing a framework for analysis that seeks to bridge various perspectives, arrive at clear definitions of empowerment and its dimensions - and thus help accumulate knowledge in this field. To illustrate the application of the framework, Dr Magi Matinga, Energy Anthropologist and key member of the EFEWEE Project presented some key observations from the qualitative field work in India, Nepal and Kenya. Thereafter the two discussants made their observations on the presentations and suggested how the research framework can be strengthened. The webinar was joined by more than 95 participants from different countries.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this webinar. I would like to be part of similar webinars in the future.

Rima Borthakur, Uttar Pradesh, India

I'd like to know what universities within the US are engaged with the study and/or the various affiliated centers. Thank you.

Mary Hallisey Hun, Georgia, United States

Since, women invest almost 90 percent of their earnings back to families, while the supply was catered to moving forward, the team should also look at the demand side of how women could be Prosumers (productive users) and its potential benefits in long run.

Ankita Pant, Delhi, India

Interesting webinar, would be interested in participating in more such events

Ruchika Gupta, Delhi, India

Watch Recorded Webinar


Mr Debajit Palit

He is an Associate Director and Senior Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India and responsible for the Rural Energy and Livelihoods Division in TERI. He has around 18 years of experience working in the energy access domain and is co-leading the project, EFEWEE.


Dr Tanja Winther

She is a social anthropologist and power engineer at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway. Dr Winther has a long experience of doing research on the social impact of electrification and gender issues in particular. She is the Project Leader of EFEWEE.

Dr Magi Matinga

She is an Energy Anthropologist (PhD) at Dunamai Energy in Malawi and has written an ethnographic PhD thesis at Twente University on women, electricity, and health in South Africa, focusing on how women's experiences affect their perceptions of danger and uses of electricity. She is leading the work package on literature review in the EFEWEE project and is contributing to the empirical research in Nepal.


Dr Helene Ahlborg

She is a researcher of environmental systems analysis at Chalmers Technical College, Sweden. Her research is about rural electrification in East Africa and societal transformation. She studies the co-development of technology and society and how provision of electricity services, based on small-scale renewable energy resources, impacts on people's lives and transforms rural communities.

Rebecca Rewald

She is a coordinator for Aid and Agriculture at Oxfam America. She is engaged in development work and has expertise in aid/development effectiveness, agriculture policy, gender, monitoring, evaluation and learning. She is also a member of Women's Economic Empowerment in Agriculture Knowledge Hub.


16.30 - 16.40 Welcome and practical info by Moderator Debajit Palit, EFEWEE/TERI
16.40 - 16.55 Proposal of a framework: benefits and methodological challenges, Tanja Winther
16.55 - 17.10 Illustrating the framework's applications: Glimpses from the field, Magi Matinga
17.10 - 17.20 Comments by discussant Helene Ahlborg, Chalmers Technical College, Sweden.
17.20 - 17.30 Comments by discussant Rebecca Rewald, Oxfam America
17.30 - 17.45 Responses to questions and comments from participants
17.45 - 17.55 Concluding reflections by presenters and discussants
17.55 - 18.00 Closing remarks, Debajit Palit


Mr Debajit Palit

Associate Director and Senior Fellow,

Registration has been closed

86% of the participants found the webinar useful
86% of the participants rated the speakers good.
96% found the quality of the webinar was good.

Supported By

*For more details of the EFEWEE project, please visit www.efewee.org