Why Women are Key to Climate Justice

Workshop session

Photo by Neema Namadamu

Women make up over half of the world’s population, produce more than half of all the food we eat, and form the backbone of familial and economic life. Around the globe, women’s daily work, paid and unpaid, connects them intimately with the Earth on which they depend to provide for their families and communities. Gender disparities reduce women’s physical and economic mobility, voice, and opportunity in many places, making them more vulnerable to the increasingly adverse impacts of climate change.

While women continue to suffer disproportionately from environmental destruction and climate change, they also stand on the frontlines of global efforts to revision and heal our world. These women are rising with fierce resolve, aware that what is happening on climate change at the national and international policy level does not suffice given the social and ecologic crisis we face. These women, rising and implementing remarkable and effective works across the globe, wield immense power to change things for the better and are integral to genuine environmental justice.

Women are already at the heart of food production, water and resource management, and household consumption decisions, making them uniquely poised to chart a new social, economic, and political course. A body of emerging evidence indicates that women’s leadership is essential to reducing carbon emissions and fostering environmental protections. Further, women united have an unmatched potential to promote cross-sectoral and cross-cultural exchange, and thus generate effective solutions.

International Women's Earth and Climate Summit

Photo by Lori Waselchuk.

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) was founded in response to the knowledge that we cannot achieve climate justice without gender justice. Towards this end, WECAN International works to engage women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions, with varied on projects including Women’s for Forests and Fossil Fuel/Mining/Mega Dam Resistance, Regional Climate Solutions Trainings in the Middle East North Africa region and Democratic Republic of Congo, the Women’s Earth and Climate Summits, the Women’s Climate Declaration, and newly released Women’s Climate Action Agenda.

This September 2014, WECAN International will be on the ground in New York City working to strengthen the voice of women in the mobilization surrounding the United Nations Climate Leadership Summit, Climate Week NYC 2014, and People’s Climate March. On September 21, 2014, WECAN International will join hundreds of thousands of people across the world for the People’s Climate March, standing with the women’s delegation in order to bring attention to the critical role of women in climate leadership. At our ‘Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change’ event on September 22nd, we will bring together some of the visionary women who are demonstrating first hand the ways in which women are central to climate justice and transformative change (wecaninternational.org/pages/climate-march-2014). The full list of event speakers and biographies can be seen by clicking here. 

Our ‘Wall of Women’ action on September 21st and 22nd is a chance for women around the world to unite and give voice to their local climate issues, solutions, and messages to world leaders. Submit photos and a statement about your Wall of Women Action at: wecaninternational.org/climate-march-2014-gallery.

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Blog by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International Co-Founder and Executive Director

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