About Us


POWERful Women is working for greater representation of women at the top of the UK’s energy industry.


We are a professional initiative that seeks to promote the growth and leadership development of women across the energy sector. Our goals are to see 30% of executive board roles and 40% of middle management roles filled by women by 2030.


Our work

We do this in three ways:

We are focused on the most significant employers in the UK energy sector and also work with international partners and a range of diversity organisations and advocates.

Watch our latest video here


Why do we need more diversity?

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 at the top table.

By bringing together a mix of industry, academic and political leaders, 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 practical advice and support to women seeking to advance their careers, in order to build the pipeline of leaders for our sector.


Our background

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.

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. We are based at the Energy Institute, which provides the Secretariat for our work, and strategic direction and governance is provided by our Board.

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

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