Women Are Powering the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Movement

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day by profiling six women who are leading the global and U.S. movement to advance climate change solutions, protect nature and lift global ambition to achieve the sustainable future we need for today and the future.  These women are breaking barriers, moving governments, and holding the private sector accountable to take more aggressive actions.

It’s not surprising why — women are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental justice because they are more likely to be poor and generally in developing countries work at home where climate impacts are greater.  At COP25  the delegates adopted a comprehensive enhanced work program and “Gender Action Plan” (GAP), which should begin to increase women’s power and impact globally.

Why Women Matter:  While women are advancing the dialogue, there should be many more women at the table.  Indeed a group of more than 400 women signed an open letter last December to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the U.K.’s COP leadership team as part of a campaign called #SHEChangesClimate calling on gender parity for women at the negotiations and for the leaders to ensure that climate finance is gender-inclusive (developing minimum standards) to increase access to finance for women-led and women’s rights organizations addressing climate change impacts on the front line. It’s on all of us to elevate the role of women on these issues. 

The History and Goals of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in the early 20th century when the industrial revolution and the women’s suffrage movement made it a time of great economic expansion and turbulence in the world.  International Women’s Day was celebrated officially for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911, and more than one million people attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

Today, the purposes of marking the day are four-fold:

  • to celebrate women’s achievements
  • to raise awareness about women’s equality
  • to lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • and to fundraise for female-focused charities.

The theme of this year’s event is #ChoosetoChallenge because we can all take action and choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, celebrate women’s achievements and help create an inclusive world.

What You Can Do: Submit an image that embodies the theme #ChoosetoChallenge here.

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