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2019-11-25 | News

High level of gender research presented at the EfD Annual Meeting

Rebecca Klege

This year a large number of gender research papers was presented by environmental economists at the EfD Annual Meeting. Gender analysis is gaining traction and EfD’s program to increase the number of women from the Global South trained in environmental economics and positioned to take on leadership roles in academia takes shape.

Within EfD 20 gender analyses has been made as part of EfD discussions papers, and around 100 papers presented at the EfD Annual Meeting in Bogotá included gender perspectives. EfD sees an opportunity to increase gender analysis even more in the research carried out at its centers. And in addition, EfD’s WinEED program (Women in Environmental Economics for Development) held its third major meeting in Bogotá.

WinEED is a network which aims to ensure that women have the opportunity to advance in economics and to take up leadership positions. It was inaugurated two year ago and is now looking to develop more activities and functions that involve researchers in EfD countries.

While the number of female environmental economists has increased over the years, women remain underrepresented at senior level in academia. The result is a shortage of role models and mentors for young female researchers and students.

- We have to strategize so early career women don’t fall out. We need mentorship and capacity building, says Rebecca Klege, researcher at the EfD center in South Africa.

Rebecca Klege is also one of the researchers who are presenting research on gender analysis in the energy sector in Rwanda at the EfD Annual meeting.

- Many thought it wouldn’t be profitable to have women in the private sector. But the results from my research shows that women entrepreneurs are as competitive as men in the renewable energy sector, under conducive business models such as working together in a group, she says.

This research has encouraged the partner company involved in the research to adopt a new business model that includes more women. This model is being rolled out in 272 villages in Rwanda.

- We didn’t foresee that we could have such a big impact on the private energy sector when we started the project. Now even other sectors could adopt this business model. That’s the next step to broaden our impact on policy in the sector, she says.

Rebecca Klege is from Ghana, and she is determined to continue with impactful research in the field of environmental economics with focus on Africa.

Another researcher who presented research related to gender is Simon Wagura Ndiritu, lecturer at Strathmore University in Kenya. He has analyzed the impact of having women serve on the boards of Kenyan companies. One of his research findings reveals that when women are a part of the management structure, the probability of implementing the environmental management system ISO 14001 increases, which is seen as significant for the business community’s role in mitigating climate change.

The findings contribute to the understanding of the role gender equality in the workplace can play in improving profitability, value creation and promote sustainability strategies.

- The plan is now to meet with the top 100 companies in Kenya in January to share the results and ask for concrete commitments to implement ISO 14001, says Simon Wagura Ndiritu.