The theme of this year’s Women’s Day, on 8th March, was “”. Climate change impacts everyone, but not equally, affecting more severely the most vulnerable, whether in developed or developing countries. The effects are determined by situations of poverty, circumstances, existing roles, responsibilities and cultural norms. When solutions to climate change address these different realities, they are more effective and their impact ripples through society. Here are several reasons why climate action and women should be seen holistically by UNFCCC.
100 % of the population needs to be involved. Some 51% of humanity is comprised of women and girls, and are the most affected by climate change. It is critical that the needs, perspectives, and ideas of women and youth, as well as of men, are included so as to create just, effective, and sustainable solutions.
Furthermore, rural and indigenous women experience the impacts of climate change for generations and have been forerunners and leaders in environmental conservation, building resilience to climate impacts and to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The traditional skills and knowledge that women have relating to natural resource management in areas such as innovation, waste and energy are effective tools in climate action strategies.
Empowering women means more effective climate solutions. Women comprise approximately 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, and when given the same access to resources as men, they can increase their agricultural yields by 20 to 30 percent and reduce poverty and world hunger by 12 or 17 percent. Investing in women and girls creates ripple effects felt throughout entire communities and countries
Women are vital to building climate resilience and capacity in communities because they share information about community wellbeing more readily since their family lives are impacted. Additionally, women are usually first responders in community responses to natural disasters, leaders in disaster risk-reduction, and contribute to post recovery by addressing the early recovery needs of their families and strengthening community building and thus promote achieving the SDGs.
The SMVA Trust is fully dedicated to encouraging full and equal gender balance and women’s leadership, along with men, in its projects in south India and abroad through education, sustainable organic farming and conservation, safer fertilizers, effective ways of cultivating crops, clean energy, use of solar power, water purification schemes, decontamination of rivers and other innovations. The Trust has recently engaged in local clean-up initiatives and other green programs, engaging in collective and individual efforts and campaigns. Some SMVA members have already switched to zero-waste, reduced consumption, converting to vegetarian diets, and mindful of single-use plastics.