About Us

POWERful Women (PfW) is working for a gender-balanced, diverse and inclusive energy sector.


We are a professional initiative, based at the Energy Institute, that seeks to address the continued underrepresentation of women at the top of the UK energy industry and in the leadership pipeline. Our goal is for women to be in at least 40% of middle management and leadership roles in the UK energy sector by 2030.




We aim to achieve our goal in three ways:


  • SUPPORT – practical support for companies committed to improving their gender diversity and inclusion (for example through our D&I forum and sharing good practice) and for women to advance their careers (for example through our mentoring programme, POWERful Connections, and career resources);
  • CONNECT – running events and providing platforms for women to network and for companies, regulators, government and experts to collaborate.


We are focused on advancing diversity within the most significant employers in the UK energy sector, alongside government and the regulators.  We also work with international partners (such as UN Women and EqualBy30 and other similar national initiatives) and a range of diversity organisations and advocates, for example through the Women’s Energy Networks Assocation (WENA), and through the energy sector’s DE&I taskforce TIDE.


Watch our latest video here




The energy sector is undergoing a transformation, presenting a wide range of challenges and opportunities, from digitalisation to decarbonisation and changing consumer demands.  Success will mean attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talent capable of bringing the necessary technical and leadership skills, and fresh perspectives.


POWERful Women believes more diversity, including much stronger female representation, is needed throughout the energy sector, but particularly leadership level.


By bringing together a mix of industry leaders, D&I experts and policy influencers, and by sharing good practice, we work to support and encourage energy companies to develop better diversity and inclusion approaches, to track and report their data, and to appoint more women to senior roles. This will help them build stronger businesses and adapt to changing markets on the journey to Net Zero.


We also provide support, practical advice and resources to women seeking to advance their careers, in order to build the pipeline of leaders for our sector.  This includes our popular mentoring programme, POWERful Connections, and events, webinars and guides.


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which has committed to having 50% women in senior civil service positions by 2025, remains a key partner for POWERful Women.


The POWERful Women team is based at the Energy Institute, which provides the Secretariat for our work. Strategic direction and governance is provided by our Board, led by Chair Katie Jackson.


To contact a member of the POWERful Women team, please email info@powerfulwomen.org.uk




POWERful Women has been championing the greater representation of women at the top of the UK energy industry since 2014, when the initiative was launched by Baroness Verma and former MP and now energy consultant Laura Sandys. Ruth Cairnie, former EVP for Shell, joined as Industry Chair in 2015, when we also published ‘Igniting change – Building the pipeline of female leaders in energy’ in collaboration with PwC.  This eye-opening research highlighted that only 5% of executive board seats within the top UK-based energy companies were held by women, whilst 61% had no women on their board.

We continue to track and report this data annually. Today, those numbers are higher but progress towards better balance, diversity and inclusion is still too slow.


To keep up-to-date with our latest research and events, click here to visit our ‘Events’ page.


CLICK HERE to download our 2023 leaflet.