Influence of Electricity Access on Gender: Evidences from Nepal
Access to modern energy has been found to especially benefit rural women, in terms of reducing their drudgery and increasing their efficiency of time use. This paper draws from the findings of a primary household survey and qualitative study in Nepal in order to analyse how access to modern energy affects gendered aspects of health, education, income generation, and decision-making. It was found that a higher percentage of children (boys and girls) from households with electricity access were enrolled in schools and spent more hours studying. Further, electricity access in health centres assisted them to offer medical services to the people. Though these facilities helped in enhancing the overall quality of life of women, decisions regarding health and education were found to be taken mostly by men or sometimes jointly with their spouses. It was also seen that the decisions regarding expenditure of income earned by women, were not taken by them independently. Further, households that have had access to electricity for a longer period of time were more likely to send a higher number of their children to school as compared to those who got access to electricity later. This means there is a time lag between the time a household gets access to electricity and the time when improvement in socioeconomic and developmental attainments (like school enrolment) begin to show up.