Women and SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

SDG-7 is not only to ensure access to universal affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, but also to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The statement from UN Women puts in a nutshell why women’s empowerment is key to achieving this goal, too: „Women’s responsibilities in households and communities, as stewards of natural and household resources, positions them well to contribute to livelihood strategies adapted to changing environmental realities.“

Indeed, some indications from global surveys suggest that women are in general more likely than men to conserve energy and more willing to alter everyday behaviors. This gender-gap in environmental awareness can be found everywhere, also in industrial countries. In developing countries, however, the lack of clean energy can even be a matter of life and death for women: As almost 3 billion people there still have to rely on cooking over an open fire, inhaling toxic fumes and soot from rudimentary, heavily smoking stoves leads to about 4 million premature deaths each year - mostly among women and kids. Moreover, the inefficiency of this cooking method consumes hours of women’s time each day (starting with fuel or wood collecting), and even puts them in danger of violence while doing so alone.

So as for SDG-6 you can rest assured that women’s motivation to achieve SDG-7 is highest, too. As primary energy managers in households, they can play important roles in extending sustainable modern energy - if they are empowered and get equal opportunities for representation and leadership in energy planning and policy-making as well as in national and global energy councils.

Felicitas Heyne


Psychologist and Co-Founder of Audiopedia Foundation