Press release: UN Women highlights women’s role in the energy of the future during EXPO 2017


Astana/New York, 9 June 2017—UN Women will showcase its best solutions on women’s role to boost the world’s access to energy, while at the same time fighting climate change, at this year’s EXPO in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 10 June to 10 September 2017.

Themed “Future Energy”, this year’s EXPO will be hosted for the first time in Central Asia and expects 5 million visitors. UN agencies, governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and technology companies from more than 100 countries will explore strategies, programmes and technologies aimed at sustainable energy development, promoting energy security and efficiency, and encouraging the use of renewable energy.

Energy plays a crucial role in global economic growth and underpins all areas of development. Around the world, more than one billion people lack access to electricity and 2.9 billion use solid biomass for cooking and heating homes. Women disproportionately bear the burden of energy poverty. When modern sources are not available, they spend hours each day collecting fuel to cook and heat their homes. They also face significant health and safety risks from household air pollution, from carrying heavy fuel loads, and from the lack of lighting. At the same time, women are largely absent in the industries that produce modern sources of renewable energy, comprising only 20 per cent of the workforce.

As part of the EXPO, UN Women and UNESCO will host a side event on 4-5 September themed “Women’s Essential Role in Future Energy”, to draw attention to increasing women’s access to sustainable energy and engaging women as agents of change.

 “There is a need to make sure every woman, every man, every girl and every boy has access to affordable and sustainable energy by 2030. Taking both women’s and men’s needs into account in energy interventions, as well as strengthening women’s leadership and participation in energy solutions is critical for sustainable development,” said Elaine M. Conkievich, UN Women Representative, Head of Multi-Country Office Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

UN Women works to extend energy access and enable women to bring electricity to their communities, as well as to empower women as agents of change in promoting sustainable energy technologies. Through the Barefoot College in India, UN Women has helped train illiterate older women from Africa as solar engineers, who then provided their communities with access to electricity. Also, the Government of India and UN Women are implementing a large-scale, transformative Women’s Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Energy (WESE) programme that will directly reach 100,000 disadvantaged women. In Central Asia, UN Women worked to train rural women to build greenhouses and solar installations.

Additionally, UN Women has sponsored the Gender Equality Award granted by the SEED Initiative, a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy, which has acknowledged many sustainable energy initiatives involving women.

Together with UNEP, UN Women has also recently launched a Flagship Programme Initiative on Women’s Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Energy that aims to increase women’s entrepreneurship, leadership and access to, and productive use of, sustainable energy.

All these projects and initiatives will be showcased at the EXPO UN Women/UNESCO booth, which can be found at the UN Pavilion in the International Organizations’ Plaza, C2.

For more information, contact: Aijamal Duishebaeva, UN Women Multi-country Office Kazakhstan (Central Asia), aijamal.duishebaeva[at],  +7 701 2556541

Online: | #ExpoAstana2017, #FutureEnergy