Why Clean Energy is Crucial in the Fight for Global Equality

The production of and access to clean, renewable energy is instrumental in a variety of global issues. Its role in the fight for global equality, however, is often overlooked.

In recent years, the clean energy sector has offered far more job opportunities for women than in non-renewable energy sectors. In the latter, female employees make up 10 to 20 percent of the sector while women represent over 25 percent of clean energy employees.

The clean energy industry’s support of employment equality is a global push. The Solar Sister Program in Nigeria offers those without access to electricity, specifically women, solar panels and lights. The program creates a work-flow in which renewable energy products are provided to women as long as they opt to sell other renewable energy products themselves.

With the International Energy Agency estimating that 585 million people are currently living without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, efforts like this are crucial. Many people in such areas are resigned to using dangerous alternatives like paraffin and kerosene, which can lead to respiratory illnesses and potential injuries.

“The greatest surprise is the difference that one light and one empowered woman can make,” Solar Sister’s director of engagement Caroline Mailloux told Tech Republic. “Cost savings, time savings, more hours of light to run a business – the ripple effect is truly impressive.”

Considering that this past June was the hottest on record, the push for renewable energy is getting more pressing every year. The potential domestic economic benefits posed by the clean energy industry are significant. According to EcoWatch, if the U.S. invested heavily in the clean energy industry, the country could see savings up to $40 billion by 2030.

Globally, the equality offered by renewable energy sources is already starting to manifest itself. In 2014, the global clean energy market netted around $605 billion globally. This new income coupled with savings gained from cutting non-renewable energy use can continue to offer job opportunities and income equality for women, people of color and disabled people.

“Sustainable energy can revitalize our economies, strengthen social equity and catalyze a clean energy revolution that benefits all humanity,” said U.N. Secretary General Bai Ki-moon.

The clean energy industry has already proven to be a positive outlet for gender and income equality. The more support we give it, the better.

Alexander Jones

Sources: Huffington Post, Tech Republic, The Energy Collective
Photo: Force of the Sun