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How Women Can Create An Impact On Climate Change

Written by: Aurée de Carbon, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Climate change endangers humanity’s security, peace, and prosperity. It creates disproportionate effects on people and communities. The ones that are most likely to experience its impacts are the marginalized people groups and vulnerable people and sadly, they have less impact in making decisions around climate change.



World Bank's Groundswell report in 2021 stated that up to 216 million people might be forced to move within their countries by 2050. According to Nature Communications, people worldwide, around 200 million (more than three times the size of the UK), will live below the tideline by the end of this century if levels continue to rise.


Currently, global leadership focuses on science and the economy. Climate change is indeed an environmental phenomenon that requires scientific research. However, climate change advocates must also consider its side regarding economic development and human rights concerns. Climate change greatly influences marginalized sections of the population. This impact increases in countries that have agriculture as their main source of livelihood. Women are greatly affected by higher risks and greater burdens from climate change’s impacts. Women also comprise the majority of the world’s poorest groups. Women also contribute less to decision-making which prevents them from providing solutions to planning, policymaking, and implementation of climate change concerns.


The United Nations mentioned that women are disproportionately affected by migration decision-making in the face of climate risks as they face growing life obstacles (e.g., lack of financial assets, limited land rights and property, and caregiving obligations). Moreover, women's ability to make climate change-related decisions is undervalued. Based on a report, men fill approximately 67% of roles in climate change decision-making and the representation of women remains under 30% in national and global climate negotiating bodies.


Despite the limited contribution of women to global leadership in climate change, they do still have a significant role in responding to climate change. This is brought about by their localized and sustainable resource management. They also have sustainable practices in their own households and within the community. Solutions to climate change are deemed effective if they are able to address these realities, and this is where women make a significant contribution. Here are some of the compelling reasons why women are crucial for climate action.


1. Climate Action Requires Full Engagement Of The Population


Setting aside gender orientation and gender identity, half of the world’s population is comprised of women and girls. However, they are often overlooked when it comes to climate change. For all of us to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement (i.e., limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius), it is imperative to bring everyone on board, which means getting more women and girls involved and empowered in the process.


2. Better Climate Solutions Are Brought By Empowered Women


Research shows that countries with high representation of women in parliaments are more likely to ratify international environmental treaties. This is why communities and countries should invest in women and girls due to its far-reaching benefits. Just take a look at female parliamentarians who are leading the way to adopting more robust climate change policies.


3. Women Are Considered Key To Building Climate Resilience In Communities


According to UN reports, communities are more successful in resilience and capacity-building strategies when women are involved and engaged in the planning process. They are usually the first responders in community responses to natural disasters, leaders in disaster risk reduction, and contributors to post-recovery by addressing the early recovery needs of their families and strengthening community building. Having strong, more resilient communities is possible by including women in community planning and disaster response efforts who are better equipped to face climate change challenges.


4. Recognition Of Countries In The Importance Of Gender In Climate Planning


As agreed by governments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Gender Action Plan calls for full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in the international climate process and decision-making in climate action.


In 2012, governments adopted a goal of gender balance in national delegations and in national climate policy and action, and since then, the UN Climate Change Secretariat has an annual report on the gender composition of national delegations and policy and decision-making bodies under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Politics also has been witnessing the participation of women that resulted in greater responsiveness to the needs of citizens. Women who are active participants in their localities lead to climate-related policies and projects.


Women Farmers


Women comprise the majority of the globe’s small-scale farmers. This holds true in developing countries where men flock to the cities in search of work. Farming has become more challenging for women because of the impacts of climate change. Women feel the burden of feeding their families when soil erosion, drought, or flooding cause the failure of crops to grow.


Nearly half of the agricultural labor force in developing countries is made up of women. If they can get their hands on the same access to resources as their counterpart, women can boost their agricultural yields by 20-30%. According to the UN, not only does the increased productivity improves total agricultural output by 2.5 to 4 percent, but it can also help reduce world hunger by 12 to 17 percent.


Providing appropriate technology and resources to women in agriculture produces a positive impact on climate adaptation in the sense that we can promote farming and conservation practices that are more sustainable. Also, poverty reduction can help individuals adapt to the effects of climate change better.


Women’s Preparation Of Food


One-half of women in the world use dung, coal, wood, and other traditional fuels to cook the food they produce. High levels of black carbon are released in unventilated homes. This air pollution results in 1.5 million deaths annually. Casualties comprise mainly women and children in the poorest communities in the world.


Women’s Health


Women exert more effort and spend more time collecting necessities due to climate change. Women must travel longer due to the scarcity of water, fuel, and food. This situation further endangers women’s safety as well as their health. Women get sick because of extreme weather conditions. One reason behind this is that women cannot travel despite emergencies if they do not have a male chaperone. With women labeled as victims, it seems that they are powerless to do anything monumental in climate change advocacies. However, here are some initiatives that women have done in terms of climate change.


2013 Warsaw Climate Change Conference


In 2013, there was a climate change conference that was held. The United Nation’s Momentum for change initiative reported the Low Smoke Stoves Project. This action delivers health and economic benefits to households in war-torn, dry, and deserted Sudan.


Women In Ghana, Guatemala, And Australia


Women leaders propelled the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative. This had climate change as advocacy and created programs that made livelihood programs for women. Women were trained to build and sell high-quality bicycles. At the same time, women farmers in Guatemala planted trees to improve techniques in farming and sequester carbon.


1 million Women is Australia’s largest women’s environmental organization. This aims to attract one million women to obtain small steps in their daily lives to decrease their carbon footprint.


Actionable Steps


The previous programs led by women are inspirational as they have identified that there is a problem in climate change. They saw the need and created a solution.


Women can also take immediate steps that can lessen the impact of climate change.

  1. Women can reduce patterns of consumption that do not equate to a sustainable future.

  2. Women can transfer technologies to developing countries. This will assist these nations in establishing renewable energy.

  3. Women can become vocal in advocating women’s rights around the world.

  4. Women can lobby with government officials in strengthening international agreements on climate change with action plans for their countries.

Conclusion


Climate change truly has drastic effects in various sectors of the world. But with women at the helm of leadership, small steps taken collectively can help reverse climate change.


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Aurée de Carbon, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Aurée is the founder and the owner of CARRHURE, an Executive Search Firm specialized in the Not-for-Profit sector. A French native, Aurée has 30 years of professional experience. Her exceptional empathy, expertise in identifying and assessing candidates as well as her servant leadership style make her approach unique. Prior to establishing CARRHURE, Aurée was Director International for several retained executive search firms where she directed engagements for large NGOs specialized in Agriculture, Climate Change and Health. She began her career managing sales and marketing efforts for French medias and the banking sectors (BNP and HSBC) as Wealth Management Advisor. She holds a BA in Arts from University Paris X and a degree in Communication and Marketing. She is a certified professional Coach, PNL technician and she is certified in several assessment Tools, such as 360° and DISC Model. Aurée is fluent in French and English.

 

Sources:


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