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The Importance of Empowering Women in Climate Action

“We have a single mission: to protect and hand on the planet to the next generation.”

Francois Hollande, President of France

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Inspiration for this Project

I’ll put it out there… I am a feminist. Not because I am a girl myself but because I feel there’s a need for women and girls to have a say in every situation. I started my 10th-grade year with a four-month-long project that I had to complete on a topic that I was passionate about. During the summer, I had already decided that I wanted to focus on discovering individual stories women in my community had to share concerning how they are empowered in my community or how they feel about the norms society had placed for them today. As a product to celebrate the completion of this project I created a website where I shared all the stories that I discovered about the women in my community and most importantly, what empowered them. After winter break, getting back to school was a bit scary for me as I was going to start my first ever GOA course. After a few weeks, I was able to gain more knowledge but demonstrate and share my knowledge with my peers at the same time. I was able to demonstrate good research skills, reflections skills and best of all, I was able to improve on my communication and social skills with the help of various Zoom calls and conversations with my classmates and my teacher, Ms Tewell. Now that we are close to the end of this course, I would like to share part two of my personal project with you but with this project, I connect my learnings, findings and research to share with you how important it is for women to be a part of the climate action process today. In order to do so, I decided to create piktocharts (infographics) where I better display and simplify the information I gathered throughout the course of this class to raise awareness of empowering women in climate action. Hope you enjoy!


What is Climate Change?

Climate change is the product of the current warming of our Earth. 2016 was the warmest year on record with the planet’s average surface temperature rising by about 1.62 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. The oceans are warming up day by day with ice sheets breaking off and melting, leading to an 8-inch rise in sea levels since the last century. There have been severe disasters such as floods and hurricanes leading to the scarcity of water as well as the loss of fertile land where farmers once harvested their crops. There are several different reasons why our planet is getting warmer and warmer, day by day. Our lifestyle is so dependent on the industrialization and modernization in our world today, we forget that the outcome also contributes to global climate change where there are more droughts, heat and cold waves and erratic rainfall patterns. These outcomes affect all humans but most importantly, the most vulnerable countries and people of the world.

This graph from NASA visualises the increase in carbon dioxide levels in comparison to the years before today. For the first time in history, the recorded levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 ppm by 2013.

What Connections do Women have with Climate Change?

Women are an extremely important piece of the complex puzzle of climate change. The 5th UN Sustainable Development Goal is Gender Equality where the focus is not just to eliminate gender biases and inequality, but also to promote women, which plays an essential role in mitigating an issue such as climate change. Women contribute substantially to the global economy but with an issue as big and intricate as climate change, women lack an adequate voice in society today.

Women today play an extremely important role in impacting agricultural production, especially when looking at developing countries. This includes roles such as collecting water, cooking fuel and other household resources. Women have shown to invest interest in protecting and finding solutions to safeguard the environment. Women contributing to these conversations and bring out their stories is an extremely important advancement because according to a survey conducted by the UN Women, only 35% of the representatives within the environmental sector ministries are women. Take a look at a representation below called the ‘Ripple Effect’ which depicts eight different benefits for not only women but families, communities and countries.

Take some time off to read an excellent infographic developed by Women Deliver that drive for advocacy for women and girls in the fields of investment, finances, politics and diversity.

Let’s take a closer look at some Initiatives focusing on promoting the voices, work and actions of Women…

Almost all initiatives advocate for women and girls are led by other women who recognise the urgency and need for women to represent themselves throughout the process of empowerment in different fields. Politics, economics, and agriculture are just a few from many where several initiatives strand off of to invest in women because women better understand the need for conserving the environment to enable a green economy.

Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown is “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse climate change”. This project consists of a diverse group of researchers who were able to model out 100 solid solutions that raise awareness on the issue of climate change. These 100 solutions that have been derived from all the research are split up into seven categories: electricity generation, food, women and girls, buildings and cities, land use, transport and materials. Project Drawdown was introduced early on in our class and from my point of view, this project contains excellent detail that puts into perspective so many aspects of our society that we never thought would’ve been related climate change. Take a second to look at the list of solutions below… who would’ve known bike infrastructure or women smallholders could be two of the 100 top solutions presented to you by Drawdown?

Find out in detail, more about a solution that fascinates you here.

Check out Jaya, my classmate’s presentation where she goes more into detail about the three main solutions Drawdown offers that are directly connected to women and girls here.


How are women are impacting communities today?

During the process of conducting research and finding real-time data on how women around the world are contributing to a better planet Earth, I was surprised to find so many different NGOs with projects that highlight the importance of educating and showcasing their talent and potential in different ways. I’ve lived in Ghana my whole life, therefore, when reading this article posted by the UN Women, seeing an initiative in Ghana funded by the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality instantly put a smile on my face. I felt reassured and extremely relieved to see that Ghana is involved in the process leading up to Climate Justice. It felt amazing to know that the country that I live in, despite being such a small country, believes in the need to achieve climate justice while involving women throughout the process.

Read more about these initiatives here.

Stories, Perspectives and Action

I think women need to make more noise. In many cultures, women are a second-class citizen but things are changing. Eventually, they will have to make more noise and really show the world that women play a key role in society and that they can lead to the way to change the negative footprint in society today.

Mr Alberto Wilde, Country Head in Ghana for Global Communities

Speak out, reach out to your congressman or member of parliament. If people have this attitude that “Oh, I’m just one person and my opinion doesn’t matter, I can’t do anything…”, then that’s true but if you turn around and go, “Well, no I can do or say something, right?” I can organise with people, create a Facebook group or local organization. In fact, there are organisations here in Ghana that you can get involved with that advocate for climate change. Even as a high school student, there are opportunities to be involved. Take the chance and get involved.

Mr Travis Bishop, MYP Humanities at Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana

If I were to ask others what makes them successful leaders, it’s their ability to collaborate, believe, and listen to people carefully and deeply, to synthesize ideas and to see the big picture within the organization. Then, figure out how to empower people within their own jobs in a way that encourages them to follow their ideas.


I think when it comes to female Heads of School, we’re definitely still in the minority and female heads of School of colour… I think there is just me and one other person in the entire international school community, so a lot of work to be done there. I still believe that we have a voice. I think that there are as many men now who are interested and concerned about making sure that women are represented in our industry as I know women who are passionate about that too.

Mrs Sheena Nabholz, Head of School at Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana

I did a bit of research while in college on women’s empowerment in a water-scarce village in India, and that laid the foundation for my interest in studying gender issues. When I joined WRI almost two years ago, I took a closer look at gender issues relating to various sectors that are affected by climate change – water, food security, forests, cities and energy. I have since continued to research these issues at policy as well as local levels.

Ms Ayushi Trivedi, Governance Center, WRI (World Research Institute)

Here’s my call for action…

In order to raise awareness on the importance of women and girls through the process of Climate Change, I created a Flipboard magazine that showcases some interesting articles, real-time data and includes a lot of the sources that I used throughout this project. I hope you will engage in this discussion, read some articles, watch some videos and add on to this magazine by signing into Flipboard here! Share some inspiration and findings that you come across, I will be more than delighted to have you as a contributor!

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Conclusion

I think it’s extremely important to empower women who don’t get to represent themselves, their perspectives and their voices. Women need to be given more attention to because we’re at the heart of vulnerability which is as a result of improper policies, unjust decisions and so much so, climate change. Women around the world are taking the lead so they can step up and support other women and their voices. Empowering women comes down to us and whether or not we want to discover the stories out there. Interviewing women in my community for my personal project really inspired me and there was a point when I realized how important it was to empower women. After taking some time off to research throughout the course of this class, I realized that change and education within our communities, on the important role women, play in our community is extremely crucial. We can start up small projects that may grow and impact our community, and later our region. Supporting women and their needs crucially contributes to the development of better and more sustainable systems around in the world. This may include production, food systems, agriculture and the economy. Get inspired by the video below:

Check out how women in Uganda contribute to a climate-smart environment by borrowing and investing money into sustainable and income-yielding activities.

Inspire and share here!

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Works Cited

Here‘s the link to my Works Cited.

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