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Does ICS technology contribute to gender empowerment: Empirical evidence from Odisha

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Sunita Dhal
Nilima Srivastava
Linda Lane
Publicerad i Political Economy Journal of India
Volym 28
Nummer/häfte 1&2
Sidor 50-57
ISSN 0971-2097
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Sidor 50-57
Språk en
Ämnesord empowerment, gender, health, improved cook stoves (ICS), India, Odisha, women
Ämneskategorier Socialt arbete


Because they provide a range of desirable effects, access and use of clean energy Improved CookStoves (ICS), is denoted as an appropriate goal in developing countries. The implementation of ICS is also considered as a force for supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment, two key elements high on the international development agenda. However, relatively few studies have examined how the implementation of ICS affects gender relations or if the introduction of ICS in fact promotes women’s empowerment. Based on fieldwork conducted in rural communities in Odisha, the present study on ICS implementation engages with the concept of empowerment to examine how and to what extent the introduction of clean energy stoves contributed to women’s empowerment – and potentially transformed gender relations in the intervention areas. Using qualitative methods and analyses, results show that the introduction of clean energy stoves (ICS) influenced everyday life by providing an attractive, useful technology that supported performance of traditionally gender-coded task such as cooking and food preparation in a more efficient manner. Moreover, using ICS expanded women’s room to maneuver, offering small but tangible spaces to re-negotiate established gender divisions of labour. These subtle changes may go unnoticed when empowerment is measured using quantitative economic indicators. Therefore, the article challenges researchers to adopt qualitative approaches when researching empowerment to reveal women’s slow but steady processes towards achieving empowerment that other methods may obscure.

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