How can a cookstove promote Gender Equality?
Still today women worldwide face discrimination and severe inequalities, especially in vulnerable living situations and socio-economically weaker societies, such as refugee settlements, not being able to pursue a self-sustained and independent life, generate income or take up paid work due to discrimination or gender inequality is a big problem in many communities.
One strategy to eradicate discrimination against females and promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women and girls, assisting them to pursue a more independent and self-sustained life, with access to education, work and ownership.
There are several ways to approach this mission, as captued by the different targets and inidcators of the UN Sustainability Goal Nr. 5. Three specific onnes of these targets are annd have previously been a big focus in Pesitho’s work. Those are target 5.4. “Value unpaid care and promote shared domestic responsibilities”, 5.A “Equal rights to economic resources, property ownership and financial services” and 5.B. “Promote Empowerment of Women through technology”.
Target 5.4: “Value unpaid care and promote shared domestic responsibilities”
Women in the refugee settlements spend substantial amounts of time during the day on unpaid work, mostly consisting of watching the fire, cooking and taking care of children, thereby also making sure they do not get too close to the dangerous open fire pits. Furthermore, firewood collection for fueling the open fire takes up a lot of time during the day and is a physically hard task because of the weight to carry and long distances to walk.
The ECOCA solar cookstove enables women to reduce the time spent on these activities significantly or completely, as it eradicates the need for collecting firewood, as well as having open fire pits in general. The 7 hours on average otherwise spent per week on these activities can be used to take up paid work, participating in community meetings or spending time with family members and friends.
This does not only shorten the time of unpaid domestic and care work, but also values women’s and girl’s time way more, as education, personal and professional growth are moved into the center of daily activities.
Target 5 A “Equal rights to economic resources, property ownership and financial services” & 5B: “Promote Empowerment of women through technology”
Ownership in the form of property, land, technnology or household equipment in itself is empowering for females in less privileged and socio-economically less stable communities as it gives the possibilities for a more self-sustained life, independent from male family members or husbands. A cooksotve and mobile phone are prime examples of items of ownership that can improve womens independence significantly.
By owning a mobile phone women are able to communicate and stay inn touch with family members and relatives, as well as make payments, organize themselves in groups etc.
Access and ownership of a solar electric stove such as the ECOCA thus provides even more valuable assets for women females in vulnerable living consitions. The ability to cook in a clean, healthy and sustainable manner secures health for them and their children and families. It gives access to electricity, which can be used for further income generation, such as charging phones, razors and other electronic devices, adding to enhanced income streams and therefore economic independence.
Pesitho has previously run a successful fundraising campaign to promote female empowerment in the refugee settlemennt Bidibidi Uganda. The aim was to provide women and single-mother households with ECOA solar cookstoves to give them access to clean, healthy and sustainable energy and cooking facilities, thereby saving time and money to be invested into paid labour, political acitivies and get engaged in the community. You can read more about specific experiences by users on our Impact Stories page.