Despite the fact that women are often playing a leading role during crises, they are far too often still absent from the decision-making process and in crafting the solutions that the world requires.
Women are disproportionately affected by the multiple emergencies that the world is currently facing. The effects of COVID-19, climate impacts and political and economic crises are exasperating poverty, widening inequalities and marginalizing more women, the poor and other vulnerable people with a devastating effect on communities worldwide. Women experience first hand the hardships and the losses caused by extreme weather events. As floods, hurricanes, cyclones, droughts and fires destroy their lives, homes, crops and communities, women struggle the most to provide safety, shelter and recovery for themselves and their children and wider family members. Women and children are 14 times more likely than men to suffer direct impacts of natural disasters and climate change.
This International Women’s Day, we celebrate women as powerful agents of change: as activists, leaders, entrepreneurs, guardians and mothers determined to survive and thrive amidst the impacts of multiple crises. We want to elevate all voices, especially those of impacted women, to demand gender justice and a more prominent role for women in leadership as core for a fairer, more just and equal #WorldWeWant.
Without an equal role for women in the design and execution of the solutions, we will be missing the crucial perspective of half of the world.
Recognising that people of all genders face additional prejudice and discrimination, including ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, and religion, we demand more leadership and equal participation of women at the decision-making table to overcome injustice and achieve equality for all.
With the theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” we draw inspiration from women leaders in our network to empower women and girls all over the world that they, too, can #choosetochallenge and rise up in our pursuit for gender and climate justice!
“Climate change may be the defining environmental and human rights issue of our lifetimes, but it is also our rallying call. Women may be the first and worst affected by its deadly impacts, but we are also empowered and inspired through our defence of ‘Mother Earth’. Women are documenting the wildfires, droughts, storms and sea-level rise that affect their world and our planet. Let’s celebrate our unity and amplify their voices demanding change and climate justice – NOW! “
–Juliette Williams, Founder-Director, Environmental Justice Foundation (UK / international)
“Women are still affected by structural economic and social inequalities. Climate change exacerbates them, so women are and will be more impacted. In this # 8M, day of fight and conquest of rights, we reaffirm our conviction to be part of decision-making spaces and solutions. Without a gender perspective, policies will remain unequal.”
–Jazmín Rocco Predassi, FARN, Argentina
“Climate change is not gender neutral, in fact it can have disproportionate effects on women and girls. There is an urgency for climate action to be gender sensitive, to do so we need to promote sex- disaggregated data to improve science-based decisions and a better gender approach on climate!”
–Maria Alejandra Aguilar, Climate Justice Coordinator at Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia
“As a young mother I fear for the life my son will have. My hometown is located in an archipelago in the middle of the Baltic Sea, and the current projections say that two thirds of my home, where my son will grow up, will be wiped out due to climate change. I can only imagine the fear young mothers from across the globe feels – climate change is not something we can protect our children from. “
–Madeleine Norman, FFF Karlskrona/Push Sweden, Sweden
“It must be in everyone’s interest to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all people, as much as it must be in everyone’s interest to find real solutions to the climate and gender inequality crises. There can be no green peace without gender equality, which is the world we want. Despite the many and intersectional challenges females – as well as non-binary people – face, there are many remarkable change-makers and now is the time to radically transform our failing misogynistic polluting system.”
–Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International.
“In sub-saharan Africa, covid-19 has a double negative impact on women socially and economically especially now where the climate is rapidly changing for the worse. Being the household providers, women are expected to sustain the usual lifestyle even if it means putting their lives at risk. For this women’s day, it is imperative for us to bring these problems to light and put a stop to this silent physical and psychological abuse that affects these women during these times.”
-Adelaide Mkwawa, ICT and Communications Officer, Climate Action Network Tanzania.
“Centering the voices and leadership of women to create and drive solutions for justice and equity is necessary for the #WorldWeWant”.
–Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Executive Director Women’s Institute for Change and US Climate Action Network Board Member
“Long-term mitigation of climate change and the growth of local economies will happen when we return control of the food system back to local communities and farmers.”
–Dr. Mikhiela Sherrod, Executive Director, Agricultural Missions, Inc. and US Climate Action Network Board Member
“Women, especially Black women are leading the charge against Environmental and Climate Injustices. Listen to us. Don’t tokenize us for diversity or equity points. We have the answers for ALL communities. We stand up for all of Us. Period.”
–Marnese Jackson, USCAN Board Member, Co-Director of Midwest Building Carbonization Coalition and State of Michigan Climate Council on Solutions.
“Women, we were uniquely created to put the best of ourselves into the world. Let’s work decisively for a future that no longer compromises with harm, but instead pulls all of the good together”.
–Rev. Dallas Conyers, South East Climate and Energy and US Climate Action Network Board Member
“Not only does climate change affect us differently and disproportionately, but women have played, and continue to play, an active role in the fight for climate justice. We raise our voices and demand the following: that the contribution of women in this fight be recognized and made visible; that those responsible are held accountable for the losses and damages that climate change implies for women; that climate decision-making spaces become more inclusive and equal; that the right of women to participate in decision-making spaces is guaranteed; and that climate policies are created an intersectional lens that guarantees gender justice”
– Rosa Vázquez, Helen Gutiérrez y Valeria Román; La Ruta del Clima, Costa Rica
“I have always seen women at the front of the climate crisis in the EECCA region. They are affected by it because of the uneven distribution of the resources, threat to the agricultural sector, where they are highly involved and limited access to decision making. But they are also the ones fighting for a better future. I have never seen so many brave young female leaders mobilizing, advocating, researching for the more sustainable future. This is the time for the women and girls to unleash the power they have, otherwise we will not solve the social and economic crisis which climate change provokes.”
-Olha Boiko, Regional Coordinator, CAN Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (CAN-EECCA)