International Women’s Day presents us with an opportunity to celebrate the political, social, economic and cultural achievements of women and girls around the world. The theme for this year is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. The climate crisis and gender inequality are two core issues at the heart of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The global effort to advance gender equality and tackle climate change at the same time is one of the greatest challenges to humanity in the 21st century. It is crucial that sustainability and gender equality efforts globally go hand-in-hand.
Women and the world is coming together for climate action for women, by women. We now understand the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change, and recognize that without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, and remains out of reach.
Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the world, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.
As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions. Without the inclusion of half of the world's population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized. Climate change represents one of the defining issues of this generation. From catastrophic storms and severe droughts to increasing global temperatures and rising sea-levels, the way our planet is changing is not for the better. It’s on all of us to do our part to stop the harm to our environment, and some of the best and brightest who are leading climate action are young women and girls.
Over the years, India has amassed its own group of personalities who have made efforts to relay the urgency for working towards an environment-friendly tomorrow.Vandana Shiva
An Indian scholar, environmental activist, and a world-renowned author among other things, Vandana Shiva has been touted as one of the leading voices in the field of green living. One of her most noted works includes her advocacy for Ecofeminism, a political theory that promotes a collaborative environmental society—demanding for women to be considered equal and active members. Her published work, including books like Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace would make a great resource to start your journey towards environmentalism.Ridhima Pandey
The 13-year old climate change maker has made great strides through her earnest efforts to bring attention to the ongoing crisis. She was one of the 16 children who filed a complaint in the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, calling out countries that were failing to take action against climate change. A prominent voice in the movement to curb the consumption of plastic, Pandey has undoubtedly set an example for many young women to use awareness as a tool to drive change on a large scale.Sunita Narain
Representing India on a global scale with the likes of Elon Musk, Ban-Ki Moon, and other experts, Narain discusses India’s role in climate change with Leonardo DiCaprio in the film. The climate change worker currently juggles the roles of director-general at the Centre for Science and Environment research institute and that of an editor at Down To Earth, a magazine centred on environmental politics and development. Her influential work has earned her multiple accolades, including the coveted Padma Shri award.
The theme for International Women’s Day is aligned with the priority theme for “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”.
Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas.