Sustainability is one of the fastest-growing industries in our modern world. According to KPMG’s 2020 Survey of Sustainability Reporting, 80% of leading companies around the world are reporting their efforts on sustainable development. These key indicators include risks of biodiversity loss, reporting on climate change & carbon reduction, and staying in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (1).
This is a great first step in helping combat some of the challenges that generations of human beings will face at the dawn of climate change and an increasingly growing global population. Supporting sustainable development is an equation that involves enterprises, policymakers, average citizens, and women.
Women can help power the green transition in various professional and cultural roles. Primarily, countries can focus on making sure that the development of new jobs fueled by switching to renewable energy sources is equally accessible to women as it is to men. At a glance, women represent only ⅓ of the global sustainable workforce and only 28% of the STEM jobs, which are at the forefront of sustainable science and engineering (2). Women of various talents should not be deprived of taking part in helping their communities and economies prosper.
In many patriarchal cultures across the world, women have remained as the lead householders; therefore, they play the most integral role in household energy. Everything related to raising children, household chores, cooking, and cleaning is related to women and their creative innovations for sustainable living for themselves and their families. For example, a tribal group of women in Ghana created a method to use Liquid Petroleum Gas to preserve the fish in their village and feed their families (3).
Women should be empowered and encouraged to seek out innovative opportunities that ostensibly help their families and communities.
Women’s opportunities will undoubtedly differ by nations who are at different stages of development. A great way to help women in developing countries have access to sustainable development initiatives is to offer mentoring programs tailored to their communities. These programs may include accessing better sources of energy and learning better ways to make use of current sources. A great example of this is the award-winning organization called Solar Sister. Solar Sister focuses on empowering women’s startup enterprises to bring off-grid electricity and clean cooking solutions to certain parts of Sub-Saharan Africa (4). Their organization is supported by the United Nations and features local workforce development and women entrepreneurship in clean energy.
In developed countries, the discrimination of women in important STEM or business-related positions focused on sustainability must be diminished. This can be achieved in several ways, and the good news is that many governments and organizations have made great strides. For example, the University of New South Wales has had a reported 78% increase in female enrollment in its engineering courses since it launched its Women in Engineering program in 2014 (5). The Turkish firm Polat Energy took out a 44 million dollar loan which will only improve if the company demonstrates further progress toward including women in their baseline workforce.
Supporting women in growing positions of leadership, creativity, innovation, and community in sustainability is crucial in shaping green technological enterprises and helping slow down the harm of climate change on our planet.
Mother Nature is a woman, after all.
Here are some additional organizations to check out that empower women in green tech & sustainability projects:
Business & Enterprise World
1. GreenBiz https://www.greenbiz.com/article/women-sustainability-starting-their-careers-a nd-making-change
2. WRISE (Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy) https://wrisenergy.org
3. Women in Cleantech and Sustainability https://www.womenincleantechsustainability.org
Social & Economic
1. Empower Women https://www.empowerwomen.org/en
2. Women in Sustainability https://womeninsustainability.org
3. Solar Sister https://solarsister.org
1. McCabe, Sean. “KPMG Study: 80% of Top Companies Now Report on Sustainability.” Accounting Today, Accounting Today, 1 Dec. 2020, https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/eighty-percent-of-top-companies-now-report-on-sustainability-kpmg-study.
2. Written by Irene Giner-Reichl, President. “This Is How Women Can Power the Green Transition.” World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/how-women-can-power-the-green-transition/.
3. “Empower Women - Women in Green Industries: Promoting Clean Technologies and Eco-Innovation for Sustainable Development.” EmpowerWomen, 25 June 2014,
4. “Sustainable Energy for All: Empowering Women.” United Nations, United Nations,
5. Written by Irene Giner-Reichl, President. “This Is How Women Can Power the Green Transition.” World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/how-women-can-power-the-green-transition/.