Globally, one in five individuals still lacks access to modern electricity and nearly 3 billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. In recent years, there has been significant progress in expanding energy access through women, especially to the poor and difficult to reach customers. Several encouraging business models are gaining traction by increasing the role of women and their networks in promotion, sale, servicing, and financing of household energy devices. With the expansion of women-centric energy businesses globally, we are now poised to systematically examine factors influencing women’s success that could be used to design better programmes at scale.
We are undertaking a systematic literature review to understand what is currently known about gender and entrepreneurship in the energy sector. The primary research objectives of this review are to outline key business and behavioural drivers of success of women’s involvement in energy-based enterprises, examine the role of the private sector and market-based approaches and identify current innovations to strengthen women’s agency and economic empowerment to scale energy access.
With this review, we hope to present the state of the science, contribute to theory development, and assess programmatic solutions that will have direct applicability to practice and policy. A key goal of this investigation will be to assess the contribution of energy entrepreneurship to overall gender equality for both the entrepreneur and the consumer.