Our commitment to Gender

Shell Foundation supports the growth of gender-inclusive businesses that equitably enhance access to energy and transport to alleviate poverty. 
We want to see a future where energy access and transport solutions are gender equitable. We believe this makes businesses and our global society stronger.

Why is it important?

Women and girls – particularly those in rural areas and with lower socio-economic status whom we focus on – suffer an outsized impact from climate change and lack of access to energy products and services. They also have limited mobility as compared to men. Women entrepreneurs have less access to finance and resources to successfully setup and grow their business.

  • 1-5 hours a day can be spent by women and girls collecting fuel for cooking and heating
  • 20 hours a week is spent travelling (on average) by the typical woman in Ghana
  • 43% of the agricultural labour force in emerging markets is comprised of women.

What is a gender lens?

A gender lens means ensuring that women’s needs, circumstances and aspirations are incorporated in all decision-making. We apply a gender-lens in our analysis of market failures, potential solutions, and the impact on women. We support businesses that generate financial returns, while delivering positive impacts for women as well as their communities and the environment.

Radhika and her family

What are the results?

Our gender lens approach results in direct impacts for women, girls and communities. This includes improved access to finance for women, increased income generation opportunities and better quality jobs for women, and enhanced access to energy and sustainable mobility products and services. Collectively, these levers work to enhance women’s economic empowerment.

How do we apply a gender lens?

We are purposeful in our investment approach and share our evidence to prompt broader industry change. We believe an inclusive business is a better investment, so we measure and track gender-inclusivity alongside business performance. We continually seek to improve our ability to apply a gender-lens to deepen our impact.

We incorporate a gender lens in four areas:

Advancing inclusive business

We conduct gender analysis and have minimum criterion as part of our grantee screening, due diligence and annual reporting process.  The gender analysis looks at all business areas – including leadership, workplace equity, the business’ value chain, use of sex-disaggregated data, and how products and services may impact women.

Each year, grantees develop gender action plans that are assessed, and focus on improving their ‘inclusive-business’ score year-on-year. The action plans outline goals and strategies to enhance gender inclusion with the additional potential for positive business impacts.

Solving business problems

For select grantees, we provide dedicated funding and technical assistance to incentivise testing innovative gender-inclusive strategies that aim to improve business performance.

Catalysing business innovation

We seek opportunities to unlock business innovation using gender as a first thought, not an after-thought. We identify market gaps where new business models centered around serving women are needed to ensure equitable access to energy and sustainable mobility solutions.

Bringing industry change for gender-inclusive models

We develop and share evidence, data, and practical resources to support investors and entrepreneurs on their gender inclusion journeys. We support ecosystem initiatives and are an  member of the 2X Collaborative.

Case Studies

SF’s portfolio are delivering impact to women in several areas by applying a gender-lens to their products and services.


We have formed partnerships with public & private actors, sharing resources to promote gender inclusion by encourage new ideas, demonstrating the viability of market-based solutions and supporting widespread replication and greater collective impact.