“The climate movement cannot succeed without an urgent upsurge in women’s leadership across the Global South and the Global North. Women and girls are already boldly leading on climate justice, addressing the climate crisis in ways that heal, rather than deepen, systemic injustices.”
These are the words that begin the Connected Women Leaders’ (CWL) Declaration on Climate Justice, unveiled in the context of the High-Level Meetings on the Sustainable Development Goals, an eight-day political forum by the United Nations, culminating Friday. One of the forum’s primary goals is to coordinate urgent climate change action.
While declarations and calls to action aren’t new for the United Nations, not many of them are as specific and blunt in demanding dramatic shifts in power structures like this one, which calls for female representation in the climate justice movement to “grow in number and build power.”
(Left to right) Environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim; CWL Forum co-convener Pat Mitchell; Mary Robinson, president of the Mary Robinson Foundation and former president of Ireland; climate activist Sarra Tekola; Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, Project Drawdown; CWL Forum co-convener Ronda Carnegie; NRDC Publications Director Mary Annaïse Heglar; and Doc Society Director Jess Search. (Pat Mitchell)
As a feminist and gender expert, I was thrilled to be among the early signatories of this declaration because I deeply believe that women deserve to be equally represented in leadership positions across all sectors and countries and that doing so is in society’s best interest.
From a human rights’ perspective, women represent half of the world’s population and deserve to be represented equally at any table where decisions are made, as their perspectives and lived and experiences need to be taken into consideration. Gender blindness doesn’t only undermine women, but the effectiveness of policies overall, including environmental ones.
Strategically, it’s profoundly misguided to think that we can solve the world’s most pressing problems without engaging half of its human resources.
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Why Female Leadership is What the Climate Justice Movement Needs