(New York, March 8) – Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day (March 8), “**Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Future**”, explores how women and girls are leading the charge in adaptation, mitigation and response to climate change around the world, bringing powerful leaders and changemakers to a more sustainable future for all.
During the official celebration of International Women’s Day by the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the important role of women and girls in the fight against climate change. “We need more female environment ministers, business leaders, presidents and prime ministers. They can push countries to tackle the climate crisis, develop green jobs and build a fairer and more sustainable world. We cannot emerge from the pandemic with time turning upside down on gender equality.
Women are increasingly recognized as more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources, which climate change threatens most. However, despite increasing evidence, there is still reluctance to draw the vital links between gender, social equity and climate change. At the same time, progress towards a more gender equal world is hampered by multiple, interwoven and compounding crises, most recently the ongoing aggression against Ukraine. Whatever the crisis, from conflict to climate, women and girls are the first and most affected. Without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future remains beyond our reach.
“We have seen the impact of COVID-19 on increasing inequality, poverty and violence against women and girls; and roll back their progress in employment, health and education. The accelerating crises of climate change and environmental degradation disproportionately undermine the rights and well-being of women and girls,” said UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. “We have the opportunity today to put women and girls at the center of our planning and action and to integrate gender perspectives into global and national laws and policies. We have the opportunity to rethink, reframe and reallocate resources. We have the opportunity to benefit from the leadership of women and girls environmental defenders and climate activists to guide the conservation of our planet. Climate change is a threat multiplier. But women, and especially young women, are solution multipliers.”
As revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic and social fallout has had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, further testing their ability to withstand the impacts of climate and environmental crises. The pressures of juggling work and family, coupled with school closures and job losses in female-dominated sectors, meant that even fewer women participated in the labor force, with an estimated 113 million women aged 25 to 54, with partners and young children, outside the labor force. in 2020.
Climate change also increases vulnerability to gender-based violence. Around the world, women bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water and fuel, tasks that climate change is making more time-consuming and difficult. The scarcity of resources and the need to travel further to obtain them can expose women to further violence, including increased risk factors related to human trafficking, child marriage or access to resources to protect them from gender-based violence.
Women and girls are taking climate and environmental action at all levels, yet their voice, agency and participation are undersupported, underfunded, undervalued and underrecognized.
Continuing to examine opportunities, as well as constraints, to empower women and girls to have their voices heard and be equal actors in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for development sustainability and greater gender equality. Solutions must integrate a gender perspective into climate, environment and disaster risk reduction policies and programs; promote and protect women environmental human rights defenders; strengthen the resilience of women and girls and their organizations; strengthen and improve prevention, response and recovery from sexual and gender-based violence; and investing in gender statistics and data to amplify the relationship between gender and climate.
Commemoration events around the world:
International Women’s Day commemoration events around the world will include ministerial meetings, rallies, marches, media workshops, storytelling and content production, photo exhibits, celebrity engagements and activations on social networks.
UN Women offices will join the commemorations through a variety of events, including thematic intergenerational dialogues in Thailand, a virtual gallery telling the stories of climate champions from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Viet Nam, a Climate-Smart Young Entrepreneurs Video Challenge in Eastern and Southern Africa, field visits to Senegal and Jamaica, a panel leading to an official policy recommendation in Mali, an interactive photo exhibition in Lebanon, collaboration with well-known illustrators from Europe and Asia center, a rowing competition in Egypt, an award ceremony for local women’s environmentally friendly businesses in Albania, a 5 km race in Mexico and a media workshop on promoting gender equality and sustainable development in Liberia and a high-level commemorative event during #LACForumamong many others.
– Around the world, more than 110 Scholarships organize for the eighth consecutive year bell ringing ceremonies to demonstrate their support for women’s rights and gender equality. At the ADX Trading Hall in Abu Dhabi, the ceremony was joined by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Anita Bhatia during her official visit to the United Arab Emirates.
– In Photoville in New York and at the World Expo in Dubai, the United Nations Department of Peace Operations, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and UN Women will present the photo exhibition “ In their hands: women make peace their own”. The exhibition profiles 14 women from around the world who have served as intermediaries with armed groups, participated in peace talks, proposed political solutions and advocated for women’s rights and participation. Their stories come from Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen and Colombia. The exhibit also features the local female photographers who took the photos, telling the story through their lenses.
Join the conversation online using the hashtag #IWD2022 and following @UN_Women. Download the social media package hereand for more news, assets and stories, visit UN Women’s editorial, In Focus: International Women’s Day