We can solve climate change – if we involve women

women.jpeg

(Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Vaishali Sinha, Chief Communication & Sustainability Officer, ReNew Power


With the 2030 deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals approaching, the fight against climate change intensifies each year, with governments pumping resources into achieving them.

One of the most critical SDGs is SDG 5, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, because it will have positive cascading effects on the achievement of the other SDGs, including quality education, poverty alleviation, clean energy, reduced inequalities, good health and wellbeing, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth and most importantly, climate action.

SDG5 is central to achieving all SDGs.
Image: UN Women/GenUrb

We are already seeing some of the devastating effects of climate change, with increasing floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Women are the most vulnerable in these situations, facing the maximum risk due to their socio-economic status. With 70% living in poverty, women are disproportionately affected by extreme weather events, loss of agricultural productivity, destruction of life and property and so on, all of which stem from the climate crisis.

Women also have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental circumstances in order to determine practical solutions. But women remain a largely untapped resource due to existing biases, including restricted land rights, lack of access to training, technology and financial resources, and limited access to political decision making due to under representation. For practical and effective climate change mitigation, we must unleash the knowledge and capability of women.

To find sustainable solutions, it is critical to recognize the important contributions of women as decision makers, caretakers, stakeholders, experts and educators across all sectors. Greta Thunberg, Christina Figueres and Franny Armstrong, to name a few, are already leading the way in not only climate change advocacy but also in crafting sustainable, long-term solutions.

What is the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact summit?

It’s an annual meeting featuring top examples of public-private cooperation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies being used to develop the sustainable development agenda.

It runs alongside the United Nations General Assembly, which this year features a one-day climate summit. This is timely given rising public fears – and citizen action – over weather conditions, pollution, ocean health and dwindling wildlife. It also reflects the understanding of the growing business case for action.

The UN’s Strategic Development Goals and the Paris Agreement provide the architecture for resolving many of these challenges. But to achieve this, we need to change the patterns of production, operation and consumption.

The World Economic Forum’s work is key, with the summit offering the opportunity to debate, discuss and engage on these issues at a global policy level.

According to McKinsey, in a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labour markets to men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26%, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025. This is more than enough to bridge the climate finance gap needed to fund the battle against climate change, which stands at €530 billion ($585 billion) per year by 2020 and €810 billion ($894 billion) by 2030. Just increasing the participation of women in the labour force will sufficiently increase the world’s GDP for financing sustainable development.

One of the most potent tools for increasing the effectiveness of women in climate change mitigation is renewable energy, which can help transform the lives of women by improving their health, providing them with better livelihood prospects, improving their education opportunities and more. In fact, it offers women many entrepreneurial avenues for further deployment of renewable energy, which in turn mitigates carbon emissions.

And rural women will be the primary beneficiaries. Looking at examples such as Solar Sister in Africa, renewable energy increases women’s relevance in society, shields them from harmful health effects of indoor pollution (through burning of biomass) and makes them agents of climate change mitigation through their involvement in renewable energy deployment.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2013 found “a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women” and whether they have “the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men.”

Women bring more empathy and inclusiveness in their advocacy and problem-solving, which enhances their efficacy as sustainability leaders. Whether it’s tribal women in Udaipur, Rajasthan, becoming green entrepreneurs, or Barefoot College in Rajasthan creating female solar engineers, or women-led self-help groups in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, mobilizing funds for water and sanitation (important components of sustainability), there are examples of women everywhere leading the way to a sustainable future.

As elucidated by a position paper by UN Women in 2015, “women’s empowerment and gender equality have a catalytic effect on the achievement of human development, good governance, sustained peace, and harmonious dynamics between the environment and human populations”.

What is the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact summit?

It’s an annual meeting featuring top examples of public-private cooperation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies being used to develop the sustainable development agenda.

It runs alongside the United Nations General Assembly, which this year features a one-day climate summit. This is timely given rising public fears – and citizen action – over weather conditions, pollution, ocean health and dwindling wildlife. It also reflects the understanding of the growing business case for action.

The UN’s Strategic Development Goals and the Paris Agreement provide the architecture for resolving many of these challenges. But to achieve this, we need to change the patterns of production, operation and consumption.

The World Economic Forum’s work is key, with the summit offering the opportunity to debate, discuss and engage on these issues at a global policy level.

At the national and sub-national level, effective policies, projects and programmes for gender equality must be crafted to ensure equal space and resources for women and men to participate in climate change decision making. There must be investments in multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral and participatory Climate Change Gender Action Plans to integrate gender-related concerns and build on the capabilities, unique knowledge and perspectives of women, to not only build their climate resilience but also make them active agents of mitigation. Climate finance should be made available to men and to women to share the mutual benefits, rather than exacerbating existing inequities.

The endeavour to protect the Earth and survive in the Anthropocene stage requires a collective effort, which, as the Agenda 2030 motto says, cannot “leave anyone behind”. Gender equality is a prerequisite, and the new world order must include women leading the way, capitalizing on their caregiving, educating and nurturing selves. As Neri Oxman said: “It demands of us for the first time, that we mother, nature.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

State aid: Commission approves €6 billion Italian schemes to support SMEs affected by coronavirus outbreak

Binding legislation needed to stop EU-driven global deforestation, say MEPs

Monday’s Daily Brief: human rights in the Near East and a Forum for Refugees

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

Security Council welcomes Yemen breakthrough, but lasting peace remains a ‘daunting task’

Why we need to redefine trust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Parliament sets conditions on EU-China investment deal

How innovation from within is transforming International Organizations as well as lives

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

Joint press release: Republic of Korea – EU Leaders’ video conference meeting

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

In a time of rising xenophobia, more important than ever to ratify Genocide Convention

EU-US trade war? EU calls for logic while Trump’s administration is a loose cannon in a dangerous lose-lose situation for global prosperity

The world wide web is 30. Here are 8 things you should know about it

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

Colombia: New Congress marks rebel group’s transition ‘from weapons to politics’, says UN

How universities can become a platform for social change

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

EU funds must reach media and creative sector, say MEPs

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

Syria: UN food relief agency ‘doing everything we can’ to reach Idlib civilians

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

How learning in a crisis can build more resilient leadership

Around 260,000 children in DR Congo’s Kasai region suffering severe acute malnutrition

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

No patents on naturally obtained plants and seeds

European Innovation Scoreboard 2018: Europe must deepen its innovation edge

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

Inclusion, empowerment and equality, must be ‘at the heart of our efforts’ to ensure sustainable development, says UN chief

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary

These EU countries have the most government debt

The importance and the need of mobile technology in the health care system and in saving lives

Coronavirus: Commission issues guidance to ensure essential freight keeps moving by air

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Human Rights breaches in Russia, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso

In New Zealand it takes less than a day to start a business

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

There are now four competing visions of the internet. How should they be governed?

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

EU-China: Council authorises signature of the agreement on geographical indications

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference

EU’s social crisis and unemployment to deteriorate

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s