Why we need gender inclusion for the clean energy transition
Energy access has a transformative role to play in improving women’s lives. At SunFunder, we’re spotlighting the need for a gender lens in the clean energy transition, this International Women’s Day. SunFunder itself shows the benefits of gender inclusion for our team, clients and ultimate beneficiaries alike.
Women are disproportionately affected by a lack of reliable, clean energy. Not only are they negatively impacted in their home lives, they also face more economic and financial barriers to energy access, and have fewer opportunities as a result.
In many countries, women spend a higher portion of their time doing domestic duties – such as cooking, and collecting fuelwood and water – that can be ameliorated with clean energy access, liberating women to participate in economic and other activities.
They are also often the primary household caretaker, spending a greater amount of time indoors, exposed to harmful gases from fossil-fuel based cooking and lighting sources. Research from UN Sustainable Energy for All shows that historically, 6 out of 10 of the 4.3 million premature deaths caused by indoor air pollution are women.
Clean energy access offers huge opportunities for improving the health, security, education and economic prospects and income of women. The energy sector has traditionally been characterised by gender imbalance, so it is vital that we have women at the forefront of the global transition to clean energy.
SunFunder has been built, as co-founder and COO Audrey Desiderato puts it, “with gender equity at the heart of our team and our impact.” 55% of our team, half our management team and nearly 70% of our investment team are women, with SunFunder’s investments, advisory, legal and operations all led by women.
This resonates with Meeri Moilanen, Investor Relations Manager at SunFunder. “It means having an organisation that celebrates female leadership and talent, that provides female role models to younger staff and is gender-blind in career advancement for the talented.”
A diverse and inclusive team builds on each other’s strengths, as Chris Würdemann found when she joined to launch our new advisory business last year. “For me SunFunder is the perfect example of how diversity should be integrated in every company: the broader range of skills among employees, as well as the different experiences and perspectives, increases innovation and productivity and our clients benefit from this.”
As a gender lens investor, SunFunder is committed to prioritising gender equality in our work to scale clean energy and climate investments. Earlier this year, we were recognised as qualifying for the 2X Challenge Financing for Women Initiative, for providing capital to businesses that demonstrate gender empowerment, as well as gender equity within our own team.
At SunFunder, we are championing gender lens investing and female leadership.