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Gender Dynamics of Energy Poverty in Urban Zimbabwe: The Case of Hatcliffe Informal Settlement
Current Issue
Volume 3, 2015
Issue 4 (August)
Pages: 104-114   |   Vol. 3, No. 4, August 2015   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 31   Since Aug. 28, 2015 Views: 1662   Since Aug. 28, 2015
Authors
[1]
Takunda J. Chirau, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Abstract
Energy is an indispensable resource for improving the lives of the urban poor and propelling sustainable development. Indeed lack of energy exacerbates poverty, threatens livelihoods and creates more afflictions for urban dwellers. Contrary to conventional poverty and energy studies, we argue that energy poverty is complex, multi-dimensional and gendered. It is not only about lack of access to energy sources but it is intertwined with gender and other deprivations and traps. Livelihoods insecurity is also a definitive feature of energy poverty in this study. Importantly, gender remains a common factor exacerbating women’s marginalization and vulnerability. The present study also unfolds that traditional structures, inadequate income and lack of security of tenure are on vanguard jeopardizing access to energy by women and men who are located on the margins of urban development. Energy poverty is also reproducing a wide array of problems, burdens and vulnerabilities particularly for women. These include health challenges, time poverty, collection trauma and multiple environmental burdens. However, women are not locked in structures and situations they encounter but they negotiate and maneuver to deal with their own circumstances. A number of energy conserving strategies are being adopted to survive in the context of cumulative energy poverty.
Keywords
Energy, Poverty, Energy Poverty, Gender, Livelihoods, Coping Strategies
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