Climate Change And the Women’s Movement: Wise Lessons for the Future

by Annie Wilkinson

This is part 2 of a blog focus on climate change. Read Part 1.

Global Fund for Women grantee in Fiji
Global Fund for Women grantee in Fiji

While 350 was abuzz here in the United States and also globally, it’s an interesting moment to also pay closer attention to how the women’s movement is responding to climate change. Like Global Fund grantee Women’s Action for Change in Fiji described in last week’s post, women around the world are organizing in advance of the international summit on climate change, due to take place in Copenhagen in December, where the world’s nations will come together to negotiate a a new climate treaty.

At the forefront of this movement is Women for Climate Justice (Gender CC), who just a few days ago, on November 1st,  commenced its provisional constituency status under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Gender CC is convening a working group to organize input and advocacy on gender and women and climate change issues ahead of the global summit. One of the members of the working group is Global Fund grantee Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), who recently drafted a glossary called on Gender & Climate Change 101 to help get the conversation about women and climate change started. WEDO received a Global Fund grant last year for its initiative “Women Demand Action on Climate Change,” to increase women’s participation in upcoming national and international climate change negotiations and policy making and to ensure that women’s voices are heard. Together, Gender CC, WEDO, and others are working to ensure that all climate change policies are designed through a critical gender lens.

Last week, many courageous women and men around the globe stood for climate justice and action—from San Francisco to São Paolo to Stockholm to Shiraz to Shanghai to Suva. (You can see pictures and videos of their creative and inspiring actions at They know that the security, livelihoods, homes, and wellbeing of millions of people—and especially women—hang in the balance. Women’s rights activists who recognize the urgency of the situation are wasting no time in pushing their national representatives to take the bold and swift action that is necessary to avert disaster. But there is plenty of room for more women’s rights activists to step in and take action on the feminist issue of climate justice. The time is now. In the words of Women 350 in Trinidad in the Caribbean, a small collective of mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, lovers, wives, and workers:

“Everywhere around the world today, people are joining forces to lend their voices to an important cause. We join them now. Climate change is here. Climate change is now. In other parts of the world people on small islands are already being affected by climate change. You don’t have to go to the south Pacific. Just take a drive down to Icacos and see for yourself the evidence of rising sea levels. It does not have to be this way. We have the power to make a change now. We must make the change now. We cannot abandon future generations.”


Extra Resources:

To learn more about how women and girls are uniquely affected by climate change, and for a short list of excellent resources, see Masum Momaya’s recent article, “How are Women Impacted by Climate Change?"

Read more about how women are organizing for climate justice and to find a list of further resources, see Masum Momaya’s article, "Women Address Climate Change by Connecting the Dots."

Annie Wilkinson is a member of the Global Fund's development team


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