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Women must stand at the forefront of all action to address the global climate crisis because they are simultaneously the most adversely impacted by climate change and environmental degradation, and yet are indispensable actors and leaders of just and effective solutions.

When we analyze root causes, it is clear that women experience climate change with disproportionate severity precisely because their basic rights continue to be denied in varying forms and intensities across the world. Enforced gender inequality reduces women’s physical and economic mobility, voice, and opportunity in many places, making them more vulnerable to mounting environmental stresses.

Studies show that women’s bodies are more susceptible to the dangerous effects of toxic pollution, and increasing evidence is demonstrating the many ways in which women, as carriers of life, are being impacted by, and passing along, severe environmental health issues to the next generations.

Indigenous women, Black women, women from low-income communities, and women from the Global South bear an even heavier burden from the impacts of climate change because of the historic and continuing impacts of colonialism, racism and inequality; and in many cases, because they are more reliant upon natural resources for their survival and/or live in areas that have poor infrastructure. Drought, flooding, and unpredictable and extreme weather patterns  present life or death challenges for many women, who are most often the ones responsible for providing food, water and energy for their families. In many frontline communities, gendered and sexual violence against women and environmental racism is added on top of other dire impacts perpetuated by the extractive industries that bear down on their homelands.

However against all odds and against great challenges, women are demonstrating every day that they have unique and essential ideas and skills to offer at this turning point in history, as humanity faces a crisis of survival and must make crucial changes and decisions about how we are living with the Earth and each other.

Studies show us that worldwide, when women are uplifted, there are immense benefits to entire communities and societies overall. Sustainable and local economies grow, populations stabilize, and children’s health and education improve – all of which are foundations for a sustainable path forward. In many countries, women get out the vote and vote more often, and lead on environmental and social legislation when elected to public office. It has additionally been shown that women are one of the most vital actors in peace-making.

Women farmers feed the world – and Indigenous women and women of the Global South hold vast knowledge and skill gleaned through their traditional role as healers, culture shapers, and caretakers of water and land. Women all across the world act as an immense force of social change in directing family values, lifestyle and consumption habits.

Women as a constituency are a strategic, powerful, and beautiful force that is often not recognized, supported or mobilized into action – despite clear evidence that women are key to making the societal, economical, political and ecological changes we so desperately need. These points of leverage need to be recognized and acted upon.

For long-lasting change, it is also essential that we recognize, understand, and transform the dominant social constructs that lie at the root of such gender inequality, as well as the destruction of the Earth. We need to look at systemic change and challenge old paradigms of patriarchy, white supremacy, colonization, imperialism and capitalism. Women see the connection, and are willing and able to unite across borders to challenge systems of oppression and build a healthy and livable future.

Explore Statistics Below:

Unleashing the Power of Women in Climate Solutions

  • Women and girls are responsible for collecting water in almost two-thirds of households in developing countries and hold vital knowledge of local water systems and stewardship practices. The UN has repeatedly recognized that effective sustainable water resource management depends on engaging women at all levels of decision-making and implementation. It is now recognized that the exclusion of women from the planning of water supply and sanitation schemes is a major cause of their high rate of failure. UN Water. Gender, Water and Sanitation: A Policy Brief. 2006. + UN Water. Gender and Water. 2015

  • Women in North America now control over half of the wealth, are behind 80 percent of all consumer purchases, and start 70 percent of new businesses in the U.S.- power which could be leveraged into the transition to clean energy and local economies. Female Factor. Women in the Economy.

The Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Women


  • Women in Global North countries have a much greater carbon footprint than women in the Global South. The wealthiest 20 percent of the world’s population consumes 86 percent of the world’s goods and services, and women in the Global North are deeply implicated in over-consumption, waste and associated climate impacts. WorldCentric. Social & Economic Injustice.

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