|As the continuation to my first report, there is a whole lot of significant stuff that was the highlight of the Women In Energy topic that I want to discuss further.I want to go back and highlight the points that stood out of Syda Bbumba's speech. She said that as Energy Ministers it is for them to develop an energy sector that is gender sensitive, one that appreciates the contributions and efforts of all sectors of the community, irrespectitive of gender. She went on to highlight that women in their daily activities are faced with the need to use energy, be it in the house preparing meals, warming water to wash the kids or even having to collect fuelwood and this constant exposure to energy by Women is also exposing them to different and serious risks. Because these women end up suffering from serious respiratory and associated health ailments, which are directly linked to their constant exposure to unhealthy, unrealible and often dirty energy resources, the burning of fuelwood and in countries such as South Africa, the burning of Coal causes pollution and exposes women to smoke, causing lung problems.
It has been estimated that on average about eight hours a day are spent by women collecting fuelwood. The risks of being attacked in the veld is ever present. The commercialisation of fuelwood and other energy resources, has as well spelt new challenges for the Women, most of whom are heads of the household and the poor families. The rising international crude prices, which have led to increases in the prices of Illuminating Paraffin and Liquified Petroleum Gas, which are used at household level is also a cause of concern. These energy sources are increasingly becoming unaffordable for millions of the poverty stricken majority and Women energy users in particular.
Of course this is all due to the fact that energy policy making process in most countries is still done and drafted exclusively by male policy makers. This has led to women issues not being intergrated in energy policy making or put in the energy sector development agenda, and that results to energy policies, projects and programs that are not gender sensitive. The same goes for energy technologies that do not take the issues of women into consideration. Syda Bbumba concluded her speech by saying that it was very imperative that women are not only thought as energy users, but their technological wishes and aspirations need to be considered at all levels of energy resources development and technology provision and manufacture.
Do you know what, I completely agree with her! And no, it's not because I'm biased because I am a female, but for such a long time, we have been left out of imperative issues, especially energy related, so I say ''It's about time, folks!!!