The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is Balance for Better, recognising that women around the globe face unique barriers and disadvantages that stop them reaching their full potential.

Sustainable energy can tear down these barriers and create a more gender-balanced world – by helping women earn a living, travel safely and stay healthy. These are crucial steps towards fairer societies, where women share the power and influence too often monopolised by men.

Why does this matter? It’s not only because everyone deserves to be treated fairly. Tackling the climate change crisis will need the skill, hard work and ingenuity of the whole world – we simply can’t afford to exclude or hold back half the planet. And we certainly won’t address the energy problems that particularly affect women (such as indoor air pollution) without women themselves playing a central role.

Since our first Ashden Awards in 2001, we have seen women use sustainable energy to transform themselves and their communities. Here are three good news stories from around the world – examples of women pioneering clean energy innovation or using it to build better lives and a brighter future.

Frontier Markets, India

BURN Manufacturing, Kenya

Shuttl, India