Throughout history many women have considerably impacted the world as we know it today. From individuals such as Marie Curie founding the science of radioactivity to Rosalind Franklin discovering the structure of DNA and Greta Thunberg urging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation, women have continually impacted social, cultural, economic, and political developments over the course of history.
Every year on the 8th of March we celebrate International Women’s Day to commemorate the myriad of female achievements. This day also marks a call to action for emancipating women’s lives throughout the world by accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s accomplishments or rally for women’s equality.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. It aims to recognize the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
Closing the gap in gender disparity in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is among the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Since the impact of climate change and sustainability has had, and will continue to have, severe and lasting impacts on our environment, it is easy to comprehend why those who are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised experience the deepest impacts. Women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most. After floods or droughts, women put their needs on the backseat to bring back stability to the household as primary caregivers. Therefore, there is a need for a gender sensitive response to climate change effects. Women and girls are effective and powerful leaders who are necessary for climate adaptation and mitigation. Already, women are change-makers as they have played a key role in deploying renewable energy to reduce the effects of the climate crisis.
Thus, in order to alleviate their plight, it is crucial to include women and girls when formulating policies to improve their conditions. By involving them in sustainability and climate change initiatives around the world, their participation and leadership can result in more effective climate action since they bring more empathy and inclusiveness in their solutions to climate change problems. As responsible citizens of the world, it is therefore our duty to provide women with the necessary opportunities and resources to overcome the hurdles they face.
By regularly examining the opportunities, as well as the constraints, we can empower women and girls – by giving them a voice and the opportunity to be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability, we can ensure sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.