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.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

JADE President opens JADE Spring Meeting 2014

Venezuela: ‘A worrying destabilizing factor in the region’, Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Mental health and suicide prevention: why focus on primary care

Restoring government control across Central African Republic is ‘key’ to lasting peace, stability – UN envoy

Don’t take African generosity towards refugees for granted, says UN refugee chief

UN agencies call for more resettlement and end to detention of asylum seekers in Libya

EU-Russia summit in the shadows of Kiev’s fumes

Make no mistake: the purpose of business is to serve society

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

A digital tax sounds like a great idea. Here’s why it might not be universally popular

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Ukraine: The West and Russia negotiate shares of influence

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

Service and Sacrifice: Guinean peacekeepers make their mark in Mali

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

The US-Mexico trade deal a threat for others, Trump to single out China, Europe

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

UN Security Council offers Yemen Special Envoy ‘their full support’

MWC 2016 LIVE: EC adds Brazil to partner tally

Road safety: Data show improvements in 2018 but further concrete and swift actions are needed

The Sting’s Values

China in my eyes

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

Why women aren’t allowed to work

The 100-year climate catastrophe of Mont Blanc

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

‘Stand united against anti-Muslim hatred’ urges Guterres, after mosque shootings in New Zealand leave 49 dead

Prisons are failing. It’s time to find an alternative

Still recovering from devastating cyclones, Mozambique, in UN address, warns of global warming’s ‘nefarious consequences’

5 things to know about the Western Balkans

Commission presents EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements for signature and conclusion

What keeps me up at night? Two strategists reply

Collaboration and connectivity at ITU Telecom World 2019

Hungary: people born in the 2020s won’t have legal rights any more to buy tobacco

UN highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development

The mental health of health professionals: is it worth it?

The world just took a step closer to eradicating polio

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

Privatisation and public health: a question of Human Rights

Why a healthy planet and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand

“If the job market doesn’t exist, then even the most brilliant Youth Guarantee cannot ensure a job to these young people”, European Youth Forum Secretary General Giuseppe Porcaro on another Sting Exclusive

The future of suicide and depression prevention

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

On World Day to Combat Desertification, UN shines spotlight on ‘true value’ of land

To beat hunger and combat climate change, world must ‘scale-up’ soil health – UN

UN chief laments ending of Cold War-era disarmament treaty

10 reasons why today’s cyber leaders are tomorrow’s world leaders

The world to teach Germans to…un-German

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

How distorted is the EU labour market by this crisis?

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats prompts UN concern for future sea operations

Why artificial intelligence is learning emotional intelligence

More Stings?

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