Equal Measures 2030 Data Hub

SDG 7: Energy


global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 7


billion people worldwide relied on combustible fuels in 2012


hours daily is what women in developing countries spend  collecting biomass for fuel

Why SDG 7 matters for gender equality

Access to affordable, clean energy can power global poverty reduction. Yet, more than one billion people lacked access to electricity in 2015, and three billion people relied on fuels such as wood, coal, kerosene and animal dung that undermine health and contribute to climate change. Over half the population of the developing world cooks over open fires. In 2012, the resulting air pollution contributed to around four million deaths from illnesses such as cancer, pneumonia and lung disease, with women and children accounting for 60% of these deaths.

On average, the rural poor travel the furthest to collect fuel that is, in turn, the most inefficient in converting to energy. As with water collection, girls and women often travel long distances for heavy loads of firewood, with the average wood load carried by women in Sub-Saharan Africa weighing around 20 kilograms.

The risks are also similar: sexual violence, fatigue, and lost time that could be spent in school or earning an income.

Problems intensify during crises, when the world’s most vulnerable people become those most acutely affected by a lack of clean energy. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and FAO found that access to fuel was one of the most pressing daily issues for the over 65 million people displaced worldwide by 2015. A 2016 study of a refugee camp in Tanzania found that attacks on girls and women collecting firewood spiked during influxes of new refugees, when increased demand meant that they had to travel further for firewood.

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 7 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

Indicator 7a

Proportion of population with access to electricity


Men and women have different needs for energy use, and benefit in different ways from increased access to electricity. Electricity is important for household chores managed mostly by women, including food preparation, and for home-based micro-enterprises.

Indicator 7b

Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology


The use of clean fuels can improve the health of women and children and ease time burdens for girls and women. Girls in households using clean fuels can spend five hours a week on average gathering fuel, compared to 18 hours for households using solid fuels [13].

[13] IEA, 2006, https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/cooking.pdf

Indicator 7c

Proportion of women who report being satisfied with the quality of air where they live


For women in low- and middle-income countries, household air pollution is a leading environmental health risk and main cause of noncommunicable diseases like strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and heart disease. More than 60% of premature deaths from household air pollution are among women and children [14].

[14] WHO, https://www.who.int/life-course/news/household-air-pollution/en/

Data Gaps

Below is an overview of other important gender equality issues related to this SDG that are not currently reflected in the 2019 SDG Gender Index due to data gaps.

Women’s participation in energy policymaking roles


The power of community-generated data

Despite the Kenya's progressive policy frameworks to improve gender equality and equity, girls and women still face discrimination.

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From evidence to action: focus on GBV

As we mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, EM2030 seeks to share insights from its Global Advocates Survey on the issue of GBV.

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Lobbying for women´s rights to health and well-being

Aminata has been a passionate advocate for the protection of children since 1990 when she had the opportunity to represent Senegal at the UN Summit in West Africa when she was just 12.

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Testionial image

“We come together on issues that affects us. The authorities hear you better when you come as a group.”

Alice, GROOTS Kenya

Testionial image

Women and children bear the burden of fuel and water collection and transport, with women in many developing countries spending from 1 to 4 hours a day collecting biomass for fuel.

World Bank, 2011

Testionial image

1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity.

IEA, 2018

Equal Measures 2030 Partners