Clean Air Day 2020: It’s a gender thing

3 min read

How indoor pollution in Sudan affects women

For Clean Air Day 2020, we are focusing on the issues surrounding clean air in areas across the world.

We previously discussed indoor pollution, something that low income families in developing countries experience due to smoke from firewood and charcoal, used to cook food and warm their homes. This issue is a major cause of death for women and children in developing areas of the world. You can catch up here.

At Bolt Beauty we commit to being carbon neutral across our business. To offset the carbon we are responsible for, we buy carbon credits which support projects that either remove or reduce the amount of CO2 that would otherwise have been emitted. We choose to support projects which not only offset our emissions but help combat other issues relating to human rights. The credits we buy facilitate the adoption of fuel efficient stoves by families who would otherwise cook using wood or charcoal.

Aside from being a huge environmental and economic issue (lack of access to clean cooking costs the world $2+ trillion annually(!)), it is also a gender issue. Today, we are going to look at how indoor pollution impacts women across the globe.

Why is this a gender issue?

Because women traditionally cook with non-efficient stoves (like wood or charcoal burning ones), they are exposed to harmful smoke that has dangerous health effects. Many suffer from respiratory and eye diseases, and their children are impacted too.

How does the Low Smoke Stoves Project help?

Not only do the clean cookstoves reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease pressure on forests (diminishing forest degradation and deforestation), they also tackle household indoor air pollution. By promoting a safe, clean and efficient cooking environment for women in the home, women can spend less time cooking and have more time to spend with their family, and seek other employment.

The initiative also promotes socio-economic benefits for the population, as not only are the clean stoves much cheaper, the program creates job opportunities for local people during stove distribution.

Low Smoke Stoves Project has benefited women and their families by:

  • Improving air quality and their health.
  • Empowering women to spend less time cooking (or collecting wood to cook with) and giving them time to spend working.
  • Providing women and their families with access to clean and affordable energy.
  • Reducing gender inequality by structuring the projects to encourage female entrepreneurs who distribute stoves via microfinancing.

“Before the LPG stove I used wood and the traditional three stone fire to cook. This method of cooking affected our health. We had chest infections, coughs. I never allowed my children to come into the kitchen while I was cooking.”

Khadija, 42 yrs, Elfashir, North Darfur, Sudan


“The LPG stove has totally eliminated the smoke and it has also helped families to have a bit more money. LPG gas is cheaper than charcoal – which many families use to cook with as well as firewood. We can use the money we save on other things – maybe for our farming or to buy more food. I think each family saves about 110 Sudanese pounds a month.”

Randa Fadul Ali, Elflashir, North Darfur, Sudan

Covid’s Impact:

New research suggests that people exposed to air pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19 than people living in areas with cleaner air.

This is an unfavourable sign for developing countries, where air pollution levels often far exceed World Health Organization guidelines. Worse, the air inside people’s homes can be immensely more polluted than the air they breathe outside.


10% off all weekend:

In honour of clean air day, 10% of all Bolt Beauty’s sales will go to the Darfur Low-Smokes Stoves Project this weekend.

Don't forget you can also donate here.

Kelly Washington

Kelly is Bolt's Social Media Manager and London-based freelance Fashion and Arts journalist.

She has an MA in Fashion Communication from Central Saint Martins and a BA in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Manchester. She has written for Hunger Magazine, TANK, Miuse and Fashion Unfiltered covering a range of topics including fashion, music, youth culture and art. For copywriting and commissions email

Kelly Washington - Bolt Beauty

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Bolt Blog

Is seaweed farming ethical?
Is seaweed farming ethical?

3 min read

We take a look at the seaweed supply chain and whether it's an ethical crop.
How to practice skin positivity
How to practice skin positivity

7 min read

Bolt Beauty talks skin conditions, with advice on how to manage flare-ups and practice skin positivity in your daily life. Let's celebrate real skin!
Got maskne or afraid of getting it?
Got maskne or afraid of getting it?

8 min read

We look at what causes maskne and how to prevent it during the winter months. Click to read our top tips for tackling skin irritation and breakouts whilst protecting the ones you love.