Culture solar panels in bangladesh - not a tool of radical feminism

Published on July 31st, 2014 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Solar Power as a Tool of Radical Feminism – Who Knew? [Video]

It’s easy to get cynical about the pace of response¬†to threats like climate change, so I confess my reaction to most of The Guardian‘s “10 reasons to be hopeful that we will overcome climate change” was “ho hum… we know this…” But even a crusty cynic like myself had to feel a bit of hope when reading #5. After¬†watching the World Bank video to which it linked (which I’ve embedded below), I felt positively excited: who knew that some lighting provided by solar power could make sure a difference to the developing world’s women…

Yes, I’m using the term “radical feminism” sarcastically in the headline (in the sense of someone who views all feminism as “radical”); the idea of women and girls having equal access to educational and economic opportunity doesn’t strike me as particularly revolutionary. What did get me thinking, though, was the notion that some solar panels could move such an agenda forward. But when light and energy are readily and cheaply available, apparently it’s OK to share them with the women…

OK, that sounded cynical again… just watch this five-minute video from the World Bank about the changes women are experiencing in Bangladesh just from the introduction of solar power into more remote communities:

Yes, availability does seem to drive the willingness to bring women and girls into the equation, and, yes, that’s problematic on its face. But the girls in that classroom can’t have their learning taken away from them… and they’ll likely go into other endeavors in their lives with much more of a sense that they belong. If solar electric systems can provide that, they’re definitely worth the investment beyond other sustainability concerns.

Know more than I do about renewable energy closing the gender gap in the developing world? Share your thoughts…

Featured image credit: Screen capture from “Women Empowered by Solar Energy in Bangladesh” video



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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