Power in transitions: Gendered power asymmetries in the United Kingdom and the United States coal transitions

Energy Research & Social Science


Major sustainability transition processes will be necessary in the coming decades to meet international climate protection targets. These transition processes will cause profound economic and social changes. The accompanying redistribution of resources could be an opportunity for society to overcome existing unjust power relations, such as gender inequalities, instead of reproducing these structures. To achieve this, there must be a better understanding of the effects of transformation dynamics on inequalities. Using the example of historical coal transitions in the UK and the USA, we first show how women are affected differently by the transition than men,
and how they engage in other ways to shape transition processes. For our analysis, we use Avelino’s Power in Transitions (POINT) framework, and draw on data from 60 publications extracted from a systematic literature review on gender and coal transitions. In the second step, we use the relevant variables from the empirical analysis to add a new analytical layer to Avelino’s POINT framework. This new layer, entitled gendered power asymmetries, provides a tool for the systematic analysis of gender issues in transition research. Furthermore, we derive from our empirical results first suggestions for gender-just transition policies.


  • Workgroup for Infrastructure and Economic Policy (WIP), TU Berlin

  • Europa-Universität Flensburg, Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (ZNES)

  • Energy, Transportation, Environment Department, DIW Berlin