International Women’s Day and Climate Change: Why Female Participation Is Critical to Effective Climate Action

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024 the spotlight turns to the vital role that women must play in combating climate change.

The reason is clear. 

While global warming poses a threat to all inhabitants on earth, its impact does not affect everyone the same way. The stark realities of inequality—rooted in gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status—intensify the risks associated with climate change. And women, often at the intersection of these disparities, find themselves disproportionately affected and caught in a web of disparity.

Solutions to climate change that take into account these complex realities and engage communities for their insights prove to be more effective – particularly for those most affected. This highlights the critical importance of female involvement in shaping a comprehensive global environmental strategy.


Climate action requires everyone’s participation

Despite women and girls making up half of the global population, their perspectives are frequently overlooked in the climate change debate. Achieving the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement, specifically the cap on global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, demands full participation from 100% of the world’s citizens. 

That’s why it is necessary to empower and actively involve women in the fight, at every level of action – from international climate negotiations to corporate strategies, and even in the direct environmental stewardship of our forests and fields. This is particularly crucial in areas and sectors most devastated by climate change’s effects. Including a broader spectrum of women in climate initiatives is not just a step towards sustainability but also a step towards a more inclusive and equitable future for everyone. 


Empowering women in rural areas

More involvement from women in rural areas is particularly important as they make up nearly half of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. If women get the same access to resources as men, they can grow 20 to 30 percent more crops. This not only makes more food overall but can also cut down on hunger worldwide by 12 to 17 percent. 

Putting money and support into women and girls also benefits communities and nations alike. Studies have found that countries where more women are in charge, like in parliament, are more likely to agree to international environment agreements

Moreover, In times of natural disasters, women often take the lead. They’re the first to react, playing a crucial role in reducing risks and helping their communities bounce back. Women are at the forefront, making sure their families get the help they need early on and working to make their communities stronger and more united.

Getting women involved in planning and responding to disasters makes our communities tougher and more ready to handle the ups and downs of climate change. They bring unique insights and strengths that can make all the difference when disaster strikes.


Policy and meaningful action – enforcing gender inclusion in climate planning 

Increasing female engagement in climate action planning requires a collaborative approach among regulatory bodies, NGOs, industry leaders and technology innovators.

Governments in particular must enact policies that ensure women’s voices are heard in the environmental sector, providing a platform for their active participation in climate-related decision-making processes. This includes supporting initiatives for female education and capacity building, ensuring they have the knowledge and tools needed to contribute effectively.

NGOs play a pivotal role by advocating for gender equality in climate discussions and implementing grassroots projects that elevate women’s roles in sustainability efforts. Their work in raising awareness and pushing for policy changes is crucial for promoting gender inclusion.

Technology innovators can also offer practical solutions that facilitate women’s involvement in climate action. From developing apps that provide climate resilience training to creating platforms that connect women with global environmental networks, technology can serve as a bridge, enabling women to play a more significant role in climate planning.

By working together, these entities can dismantle the barriers that prevent women from contributing to climate solutions. Through concerted efforts, it’s possible to create a climate planning process that is inclusive, equitable, and capable of harnessing the unique perspectives and strengths of women around the world.

As we mark International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, and embrace its  theme to “Inspire Inclusion,” we’re reminded of the profound impact that fostering an understanding and appreciation for women’s inclusion has on shaping a better world.

The official IWD message also underscores the transformative power of inclusion: “When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.”

Not only is it time to take climate action seriously, but to also acknowledge the critical role of women in securing its success. 

Climate change impacts everyone. Let’s tackle this critical issue together.