The importance of investing in women's leadership to progress climate action.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report that is, essentially, a wake-up call for humans. We are suffering from our contributions to this climate catastrophe. In the last year alone, Canada has been home to many disastrous natural events such as the B.C floods and the busy wildfire season. Around the world, climate change places a particularly heavy burden on women, who are often the ones who have critical knowledge that can help us to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
In the developing world, gender vulnerabilities from climate change are more apparent. Women who lack proper housing, education, sanitation facilities, and financial security often have worse health. Recognizing that climate change is a gender issue allows us to refocus, to find better solutions that can be imposed to accelerate climate action. Despite the adversities that women face, many have helped to make their communities more resilient and are actively participating in policy- and decision-making.
We saw this at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), where the prime ministers of Bangladesh, Estonia, and Tanzania signed the Glasgow Women’s Leadership Statement, which aimed to increase ambition to act on climate change in all sectors by increase financing, broadening partnerships, and advocacy. This statement not only worked towards empowering all women through climate action but also towards achieving sustainability and equality.
Women in leadership can look like many things, but in the context of environmental concerns, there has been little political space for women to create effective and lasting changes.
The UNFCCC found that only 33% of government delegates at climate change panels in 2021 were women.
So what can we do to change this? We need to make room for the women who are advocating for climate justice, who are knowledgeable in their community to take up space in the environmental field, and who create measurable and impactful policies. Canada is encouraging women to take part in the UNFCCC process and has launched programs such as the Women in Cleantech Challenge to support women as leaders.
If you are leading the fight against climate change or know anyone who is, share your story on Twitter using #ClimateHero.