Initiatives & Resources
It was my pleasure to attend the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This year’s session was "Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs.” Climate change threatens people worldwide, and due to the submerged status of women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals globally, they are often the most vulnerable to its effects. From economic hardships to human trafficking, women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals are confronting these issues head-on. Through sustainable green initiatives like the Great Green Wall project which is an effort to revitalize natural landscapes devastated by climate change in Africa's Sahel region, to sustainable agricultural efforts and economic empowerment, realizing gender equality requires a multi-pronged effort. However, to reach true equality the inclusion of women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals must be included in positions of power throughout the world and in the political process, bringing with them their expertise of lived experiences and their perspectives. With this gender diversity, overlooked issues that contribute to gender inequities can be addressed. A lack of affordable childcare and eldercare, unpaid domestic labor, restricted sexual and reproductive freedoms, and gender-based violence are some of the more common gendered issues faced. These challenges, coupled with the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 leading to higher levels of unemployment for women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals, a “shadow pandemic,” are all affected by climate change. To mitigate climate change’s harmful effects, initiatives in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as carbon tax credits to offset carbon emissions and the creation of green jobs that employ women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals are solutions to both the climate catastrophe and poverty. These are lofty yet attainable goals that must include the voices of all of humanity, not just a portion of it. We must all rise to the occasion and rally the clarion call for gender equity in every sense of the word to empower half of the world’s population and the promise and
potential they carry.