Differences in firewood users’ and LPG users’ perceived relationships between cooking fuels and women’s multidimensional wellbeing in rural India

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  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)


Clean cooking fuels are generally assumed to bring health and other benefits for women compared to solid fuels, suggesting they should be preferred. However, despite the availability of clean cooking fuels like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the scale of solid fuel use in rural India remains large. Here we examine women’s position on fuel transition and multidimensional wellbeing through qualitative analysis of data from focus group discussions with comparable groups of women who have versus have not transitioned to LPG. We show that women who use firewood believe their cooking fuel supports their wellbeing in several ways, and see no enabling relationship between LPG use and wellbeing. In contrast, LPG users – who were previous firewood users - claim LPG has enabled wellbeing. These results suggest that perspectives on the relationship between fuel and wellbeing shift following transition, due to the realisation of new advantages. Understanding differences in perspectives of women using different fuels is vital in unpacking the dynamics of cooking fuel transition.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022–1031
Number of pages10
JournalNature Energy
Issue number12
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020