The role of maritime transport sector from the perspective of energy and gender: The case of South Pacific

01/25/2017 - 12:15-01/25/2017 - 13:30


Momoko Kitada
(Assistant Professor, World Maritime University; Secretariat, WMU Women's Association)
Adi Kuini Rado
(Assistant Energy Officer, Economic Development Division, Secretariat of Pacific Community)
Momoko Kitada

This paper discusses sustainable use of energy from a feminist perspective and focuses on the role of maritime transport sector in terms of energy access for rural women as users of maritime transport. In many parts of the world, the priorities of energy use tend to be gendered. Women are often excluded from decision-making process of energy choice and access. In the South Pacific where adequate recycling facilities and markets are not easily accessible, wastes are a big concern for their environments. An emerging concept of 'circular economy' to closing the loop of product life-cycles poses a challenge but also an opportunity for many South Pacific communities. For example, some rural women entrepreneurs found a business chance in waste management to participate in circular economy. One of the biggest obstacles encountered by them was, however, an access to ships to transport collected recycling items (e.g., used batteries) to recycling facilities overseas. In this paper, we argue whether a gendered nature of maritime transport may be limiting their capacity to provide services to minority users like women and what would be the role of maritime transport sector to support women's contribution to establishing a sustainable, energy efficient society. The paper concludes that a missing link between women's economic participation and the maritime transport sector to enable sustainable development of the South Pacific region should be recognised as part of the energy and gender agenda as well as the unexplored field of research.