Climate change is a problem of inequality.
In the past decade WEN has led the movement in the UK to recognise that climate change affects marginalised groups, including women, in different ways. Until social inequality is addressed, climate change will only get worse.
Climate change is perhaps the greatest human rights issue we face. It means food supplies failing, fuel shortages, dwindling access to drinking water, and homes being swallowed by the sea. It means forced mass migration and worsening resource conflict. It means more frequent and ferocious natural disasters.
But climate change affects different people with different force in different ways. Those groups that are most disadvantaged - such as women, people of colour, the global poor and indigenous peoples - are affected in ways that are linked to their social inequality.
Around the world, women (particularly those in developing nations) are on the front line in the battle against climate change, and therefore are vital sources of information about how climate change manifests. Women are consistently resourceful in protecting themselves and their communities in spite of their vulnerability and lack of social or political power, and women have even been shown to care more about the environment. As long as women’s voices are denied in national and international decision-making on climate change issues, these human resources remain untapped.
We need gender-sensitive policies on climate change, and women everywhere need to be supported and empowered to achieve their full potential as human beings and agents of positive change in the struggle for climate justice. To change everything, we need everyone. It’s that simple.
For a quick clear introduction to this issue, check out our Why Women and Climate Change? briefing.
GENDER AND CLIMATE CHANGE WORKSHOPS
Our gender and climate change workshops have three aims. First, to get people thinking about the little-known link between gender equality and climate change. Second, to work out and share practical solutions to these intersecting problems in our daily lives. Third, to inspire participants to act politically against climate change. Our workshops foster a new attitude towards women and other marginalised groups as agents of change, and focus on encouraging people to use that new attitude to make a difference beyond their usual sphere of influence. These workshops are always exciting, enlightening and motivating, and we are always impressed by the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of those involved.
For more info about our workshops and how we can tailor them to fit your needs, check out our workshops page.
gender and the climate change agenda
In 2010 WEN published our comprehensive and groundbreaking report, Gender and the Climate Change Agenda. Riding the wave of global climate change buzz from 2009's COP 15 in Copenhagen, where WEN representatives conducted interviews for the report, WEN delivered it to MPs and public figures in the House of Commons.
Green MP Caroline Lucas wrote the foreword, and leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett spoke in the panel discussion, along with representatives from WEN, 10:10 and Climate Rush. The launch represented the first time the issue of gender and climate change had ever been raised in the UK's halls of power, and it drew attention from some big names - Heather Mills McCartney was there! Peter Ainsworth MP called it "a firecracker of a report", but sadly the attendance of MPs was not nearly high enough considering the gravity of the matter at hand. There is still a long way to go before gender and climate change receives appropriate political attention.
Women's manifesto on climate change
In partnership with the National Federation of Women's Institutes, WEN put together the Women's Manifesto on Climate Change. The fact is that women are deeply concerned about climate change and want to do what they can to stop it, but often feel powerless to do so. The manifesto demands that the UK government do more at both national and international levels to enable women and others to live and act in ways that reduce their carbon emissions. The manifesto was officially endorsed by Green Party MP and WEN ambassador Caroline Lucas, and has hundreds of signatories, including ActionAid, Oxfam, Breast Cancer UK, Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) and WWF. Read the manifesto, and contact us for a full list of signatories.