Tuesday October 22, 2019
Home Business Participation...

Participation in solar projects will lead to women empowerment

0
//

Kolkata: If women in Indian villages start participating in solar electricity projects, planning and implementing maintenance they can challenge patriarchy and gender roles discrimination.

Karina Standal and Tanja Winther from the Centre of Development and Environment, University of Oslo, examined in a recent study how the introduction of electricity in new contexts (solar power) affected gender relations in rural communities in Uttar Pradesh in India and in Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

“In terms of empowerment, the women feel that access to solar electricity gave them an easier everyday life and sense of accomplishments in pursuing their roles as mothers and wives/daughters-in-law and the like. This is, of course, very important in raising their life quality,” Standal said in an email interaction from Norway.

Centred on community solar power plants (micro-grids) for generating livelihoods or household electricity in two UP villages and four in Bamiyan, the research revealed contrasting features in terms of inclusion of women in such projects and their ability to counter patriarchy.

The study was published in the Forum For Development Studies on January 20.

Standal elaborated that the Indian project provided women several benefits but did not elevate them to a position where they could actively challenge discriminatory gender relations. In the Afghan case female role-models trained and working as “solar engineers” meant that communities experienced the benefits of women working and receiving the education.

“The Indian case in mention did not have this element in the implementation. Rather, it saw it only useful to train men as ‘village operators’ with responsibilities for the solar equipment. In that sense, this project reinforces patriarchal structures that work to limit women’s role outside their home,” observed Standal.

What emerged was “when projects are carried out without women’s true and equal participation, as in the Indian case, there is lost potential in a more long-term empowerment to challenge discriminating gender roles”.

Standal said the Indian project did attempt at some female representation in Village Energy Committees that are responsible for the solar systems in their village and for the monthly payments from the villagers for the consumption, salary of the village operator, maintaining bank accounts, holding meetings and the like.

“However, the women did not participate in the Village Energy Committees, as they were not allowed to speak freely due to cultural restrictions on women,” Standal said, adding that this scenario “cannot be generalized to Indian villages implementing solar electricity in general”.

But the fact remains, both internationally and in the Indian context, that the issues and opportunities of gender equality and energy development have not been receiving enough attention, stressed Standal.

“Women (in the case studies) are only seen as important end-users and benefits are provided for them to have a better life within the existing patriarchal system,” said Standal laying strong emphasis on ensuring that “women are granted equal access to participation in such projects”.

“Participation (should be) at all levels and not reduced to certain areas to make the most of these energy projects.”

Standal said the Indian project was initiated by a private Norwegian company and executed as a public-private partnership between the company, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation).

“The Afghan case was initiated by the NGO Norwegian Church Aid in support with the Indian Barefoot College. Their model of training women as Barefoot Solar Engineers is very interesting and I think has had several added values to the project in terms of impact on gender relations and more opportunities for women,” concluded the researcher.

Adding from her own experience in the field, Indian environmental economist Joyashree Roy of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, concurred.

“True inclusion of a stakeholder (women) from very beginning helps in getting them to change maker,” Roy said.(IANS)

NewsGram View-Indian women need empowerment and this should be achieved through any means. If this participation helps then the women should be encouraged to take part in such projects.

Next Story

The First All-Women Spacewalk is Set to Take Place This Week: NASA

According to NASA, The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours

0
Spacewalk
The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

The first all-woman spacewalk is set to take place this week itself as NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) on October 17 or October 18.

The spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA.

“@Space_Station update: our first all-female spacewalk with @Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica will be Thursday or Friday to replace a faulty battery charge-discharge unit,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted on Tuesday.

Station managers decided to postpone previously planned spacewalks that had been set to install new batteries this week and next in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU).

The BCDU failed to activate following the October 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s truss.

Spacewalk
The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

NASA said that the BCDU failure has not impacted station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory, many in preparation for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.

However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

An all-woman spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March.

But that spacewalk was scuttled because properly fitted spacesuits could not be readied in time for both astronauts, Space.com reported.

Spacewalk
An all-woman Spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March. Pixabay

So far, the 15 women who have conducted a spacewalk did so with a male companion. So when Koch and Meir venture out of the space station this week, they will make some long-overdue history.

ALSO READ: How to Extend Your Business Abroad

This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first. (IANS)