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Hardships and health impacts on women due to traditional cooking fuels: A case study of Himachal Pradesh, India


  • Parikh, Jyoti


This paper explores the inter-linkages of gender, energy use, health and hardships in the Himalayan State of Himachal Pradesh in India. It brings out a gender-differentiated and age-differentiated picture of hardships and health impact on the use of traditional biofuels. The study is based on survey with questionnaires covering 4296 individuals, 729 households, 84 villages and 9 districts where biomass fuels meet 70% of household fuel needs. On an average, women walk 30km each month taking 2.7h per trip for fuel wood collection over hilly terrain, often at high altitudes and undergo stress like stiff-neck, backache, headache and loss of work days. Girls below 5 and females in 30–60 age-groups have higher proportion of respiratory symptoms than males of similar age-groups. While many studies are done on the health impact of cooking fuels, very little quantitative work is done on the other aspects of the fuel chain viz. collection, transportation and processing of fuels. Such studies would guide energy policy and health policy to improve the lives of women.

Suggested Citation

  • Parikh, Jyoti, 2011. "Hardships and health impacts on women due to traditional cooking fuels: A case study of Himachal Pradesh, India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7587-7594.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:12:p:7587-7594
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.05.055

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ezzati, Majid & Kammen, Daniel M., 2002. "The Health Impacts of Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution from Solid Fuels in Developing Countries: Knowledge, Gaps, and Data Needs," Discussion Papers 10864, Resources for the Future.
    2. Ezzati, Majid & Kammen, Daniel, 2002. "The Health Impacts of Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution from Solid Fuels in Developing Countries: Knowledge, Gaps, and Data Needs," Discussion Papers dp-02-24, Resources For the Future.
    3. Parikh, Jyoti K, 1995. "Gender issues in energy policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(9), pages 745-754, September.
    4. Soussan, John & Gevers, Els & Ghimire, Krishna & O'Keefe, Phil, 1991. "Planning for sustainability: Access to fuelwood in Dhanusha District, Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(10), pages 1299-1314, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aggarwal, Shubham & Kumar, Sudhanshu & Tiwari, Manoj Kumar, 2018. "Decision support system for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 455-461.
    2. Joshi, Janak & Bohara, Alok K., 2017. "Household preferences for cooking fuels and inter-fuel substitutions: Unlocking the modern fuels in the Nepalese household," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 507-523.
    3. Yasar, Abdullah & Nazir, Saba & Tabinda, Amtul Bari & Nazar, Masooma & Rasheed, Rizwan & Afzaal, Muhammad, 2017. "Socio-economic, health and agriculture benefits of rural household biogas plants in energy scarce developing countries: A case study from Pakistan," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 19-25.
    4. Ding, Wenguang & Wang, Lijun & Chen, Baoyu & Xu, Luan & Li, Haoxu, 2014. "Impacts of renewable energy on gender in rural communities of north-west China," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 180-189.
    5. Gudina Terefe Tucho & Henri C. Moll & Anton J. M. Schoot Uiterkamp & Sanderine Nonhebel, 2016. "Problems with Biogas Implementation in Developing Countries from the Perspective of Labor Requirements," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-16, September.
    6. Malla, Sunil & Timilsina, Govinda R, 2014. "Household cooking fuel choice and adoption of improved cookstoves in developing countries : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6903, The World Bank.
    7. Calzada, Joan & Sanz, Alex, 2018. "Universal access to clean cookstoves: Evaluation of a public program in Peru," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 559-572.
    8. Martens, Karel, 2018. "Ageing, impairments and travel: Priority setting for an inclusive transport system," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 122-130.
    9. Vanschoenwinkel, Janka & Lizin, Sebastien & Swinnen, Gilbert & Azadi, Hossein & Van Passel, Steven, 2014. "Solar cooking in Senegalese villages: An application of best–worst scaling," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 447-458.
    10. Ana María González & Harrison Sandoval & Pilar Acosta & Felipe Henao, 2016. "On the Acceptance and Sustainability of Renewable Energy Projects—A Systems Thinking Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-21, November.
    11. Schwerhoff, Gregor & Sy, Mouhamadou, 2017. "Financing renewable energy in Africa – Key challenge of the sustainable development goals," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 393-401.
    12. Abadi, Nigussie & Gebrehiwot, Kindeya & Techane, Ataklti & Nerea, Hailish, 2017. "Links between biogas technology adoption and health status of households in rural Tigray, Northern Ethiopia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 284-292.
    13. Adél Strydom & Josephine Kaviti Musango & Paul K. Currie, 2019. "Conceptualizing Household Energy Metabolism: A Methodological Contribution," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(21), pages 1-19, October.

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    Gender; Biomass fuels; Hardships;


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