The climate crisis isn’t gender neutral. Our response can’t be either. The 66th Commission on the Status of Women highlights the essential role women and girls play in confronting the planetary emergency. Here’s why gender equality is critical for environmental and climate action.
Women’s climate and environmental leadership is effective. Globally, nearly one third of women’s employment is in agriculture. They make up 40 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. Their impact can’t be ignored.
Women play a vital role in sustainably managing biological resources and are disproportionally affected by biodiversity loss. In Africa, they manage 90 percent of household water and fuelwood needs.
As key players in food production and the sustainable use of natural resources, women have the knowledge and capacity to transform.
Women’s environmental leadership is crucial. Women are problem solvers – from juggling work and family demands to navigating spaces designed without them in mind.
A survey of undergraduates across 14 countries found that female students had stronger environmental attitudes and behaviours than their male counterparts. Without harnessing women’s energy and ingenuity, the world won’t meet its environmental goals.
Women’s climate leadership is about equality. Women and girls shoulder a greater burden from climate change and destruction of nature. Yet they make up only 33 percent of those working in environmental ministries.
It’s imperative that women be involved in designing and delivering equitable solutions. When women don’t have a seat at the table, their particular needs and perspectives, strengths and experiences can be overlooked in environmental programmes and policies.
Women have vast knowledge and skills to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, gleaned through their roles and contributions as environmental stewards in their communities.
Though often without recognition, women have always been powerful agents of change for the environment. Recognizing and elevating their leadership brings benefits for all of us.
3 - Kiril Dobrev / Unsplash
4 - Nino Zedginidze / UNDP Georgia
5 - UNDP Fiji
6 - Annie-spratt / Unsplash
7 - UNDP Lebanon
8 - Augustus Binu / Wikipedia
10 - Gentiana Alija Shala / Instagram
11 - Christina Morillo / Unsplash
12 - UNDP Lebanon
13 - UNDP Guatemala / Caroline Trutmann
14 - Engin Akyurt / Unsplash
15 - Tucker Tangeman / Unsplash
16 - Aditya Siva / Pexels
18 - UNDP Zimbabwe
19 - Chen Song / UNDP China
20 - Laurel Maryland / Wikipedia
21 - Pixabay / Pexels