This paper explores global statistical studies and their evidence on correlation and causality in the linkages among energy, development and gender. First explored is the relationship between energy and economic growth, and between per capita energy consumption and human development indicators such as life expectancy, literacy and school enrolment used in the UN's Human Development Index.
Next, the question of a relationship between energy, and gender equity and empowerment is addressed by looking first, at some available statistical analyses of energy access versus some key human development indicators of particular importance to women; and secondly, by carrying out some simple correlations between energy consumption and United Nations gender-related development indices. Evidence on traditional fuel use, poverty, and demographic and health indicators; on fuel switching to modern cooking fuels and electricity and access to other infrastructure; and on electrification and access to clean water, is presented and assessed.
Due to the absence of gender disaggregation in many of these statistical studies, however, another approach is then taken, to use UN gender-related indices to explore whether energy access can be statistically related to gender equity and empowerment. Per capita energy consumption is correlated with the UN's Gender Development Index (GDI), and then with the UN's Gender Empowerment Index (GEM).
Further, an attempt is made to develop a Gender-Energy-Poverty Index (GEP) based on data available for 57 countries. Such an index could be used to measure gender-energy-poverty vulnerability and identify priority countries for action, and to compare progress across countries and regions as well as shifts over time. The GEP here identifies \"hot spots\" which need priority attention, particularly in parts of Africa and South Asia.
Finally, some suggestions are made for consideration in future statistical studies on energy access and development indicators, in order to ensure a gender perspective.
MDG Empirical Review Paper, 35 pp.