SDGs should tackle energy access to boost gender equality, researcher says

“Policymakers need to consider energy as a cross-cutting development goal rather than relinquish it once more to the status of a ‘missing MDG’,” said said Caroline Ochieng, a fellow with the Stockholm Environment Institute. CIFOR/Aulia Erlangga

“Policymakers need to consider energy as a cross-cutting development goal rather than relinquish it once more to the status of a ‘missing MDG’,” said said Caroline Ochieng, a fellow with the Stockholm Environment Institute. CIFOR/Aulia Erlangga

More than 2.6 billion people — almost 40 percent of the global population — rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking, according to statistics from the 2013 World Energy Outlook. Not only does the burden of biomass fuel collection often fall on women, restricting their ability to tend school and participate in gainful economic activities, but women exposed to heavy indoor cooking smoke are three times as likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and are at a higher risk of death from lung cancer than women who use cleaner fuels, according to the World Health Organization.

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