Promoting women’s empowerment through access to electricity : a case study of the mini-grid project in a rural village in Myanmar

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: Men and women have different energy needs, and the lack of access to electricity could be negatively affecting women more than men by reason of women’s typical gender norms in a society. However, previous studies and projects’ approach rarely recognize the gender dimension on energy. The aim of this thesis is to explore how access to reliable electricity though National Electrification Project’s mini-grid project has promoted women’s empowerment in a rural village, Myanmar on the basis of gender needs: practical, productive and strategic needs. A qualitative case study approach was conducted with semi-structured interviews. The principle findings show clear benefits of meeting practical and productive gender needs by reducing women’s household chores and promoting new income generating activities for access to electricity. But there was limited evidence on meeting strategic gender needs, which are deeply connected to empowering women. However, what can be seen in this rural village could be identified as a bottom-up process where women tried to find gender needs to promote living in a better situation by themselves. Since women’s empowerment is hard to measure in a short-term, thus, there might be a possibility of positive impacts of women’s empowerment in a long-term for rural women.

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