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Green Transitions in Developing Countries: Perspectives on Women’s Political Leadership & Women Empowerment

Updated: Apr 22

Latest RESEARCH ARTICLE on women’s empowerment in politics on the green transition in developing countries by Dr. Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh, Senior Researcher at HAPRI.

Women Empowerment

This paper explores the impact of women's political leadership on the green transition within developing nations. Utilizing a fixed-effects model, the study analyzes panel data from 131 developing countries over the years 2000 to 2019. The objective is to discern the influence of women in political decision-making processes and its association with environmental sustainability initiatives. Specifically, the paper examines the relationship between women's political empowerment and the shift towards renewable energy adoption as well as CO2 emissions reduction. This research enriches the dialogue on gender equality and environmental policy by positing that women's increased political presence could foster more efficacious and inclusive green transition policies.

Distinguishing itself from other works, the study adopts a broad and international perspective by concentrating on the role of women at the national government level, thereby extending its analysis beyond the frequently studied local or domestic spheres. With its expansive dataset encompassing 131 low- and middle-income countries across two decades, the paper offers a wide-ranging view of the subject matter. It innovatively assesses the effect of women's empowerment on the generation of renewable energy, as opposed to the more commonly investigated aspect of renewable energy consumption. In addition, the study provides an in-depth examination of women's political roles in facilitating the green transition, incorporating social and political factors that previous research has often overlooked. As a result, it delivers a more intricate comprehension of the dynamic between gender and environmental policy.

The study found that women’s political participation affects the choice of renewable energy, with a preference for wind over bioenergy. Notably, countries with higher levels of women’s empowerment tend to favor wind energy, suggesting that empowering women is integral to societal development, technological innovation, and environmental stewardship.

Furthermore, this study adds to the literature on feminism and environmentalism by showing that women’s political empowerment enhances environmental sustainability, especially in countries with strong governance. The impact of women’s involvement on CO2 emissions is more pronounced in nations with political stability, effective governance, and adherence to the rule of law. However, no governance aspect amplifies the influence of women’s empowerment on reducing resource dependence.

The study concludes that women’s political participation is essential and should be leveraged to enhance sustainable development policies, such as renewable energy incentives and education campaigns. Such policies are commonly observed in countries that strive for gender parity and are linked with faster transitions to green energy and improved environmental management.


  • Women empowerment

  • Green transition

  • CO2 emissions

  • Renewable energy

  • Institutional quality


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