Aerial view of lined up solar panels. Photo: Michael H / Getty

Transitions to low-carbon energy systems are essential to meeting global commitments to climate change mitigation. Yet “greening” energy systems may not make them any more fair, inclusive or just.

This paper reviews the academic literature to understand the state of knowledge on how the diffusion of low-carbon technologies impacts gender and social equity. The findings indicate that renewable energy projects alone cannot achieve gender and social equity, as energy interventions do not automatically tackle the structural dynamics embedded within socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts. If existing power asymmetries related to access and resource distribution are not addressed early on, the same structural inequalities will simply be replicated and transferred over into new energy regimes.