Women on the Forefront of Climate Action

By Kelly O'Keeffe

July 12, 2018

While it’s well known that women only make 77 cents on the dollar and 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetimes, here’s one more worrisome fact: women are disproportionately affected by climate change. As the majority of farm workers and primary caregivers in the world, women are more vulnerable to extreme heat, floods, droughts and other impacts.


Even though women experience more harm from climate change, they are underrepresented in discussions about responses to this challenge. It is critical that we create space for more women to have a seat at the table, so they can craft solutions that work for people and the planet.

The good news: organizations and individuals are already taking important steps to elevate women’s leadership in this space. 

Women have played pivotal roles as architects of global climate policies and have acted at the local level to make cities and communities more sustainable.

Here are some examples:

  • C40 Cities Climate Leadership, a group that connects global cities to focus on climate change and urban action, also highlights women’s roles in fighting climate change through programs such as Women4Climate. This program empowers future female leaders through a global mentorship program, drives action in climate sustainability innovation, and increases awareness through research on gender, cities and climate.  
  • In 2016, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined 25 C40 mayors (only four of whom were women) in the fight against climate change. Now in 2018, Mayor Bowser works alongside 14 other female mayors, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, to reduce the effects of climate change in their cities and around the world.
  • Bowser, Durkan and other C40 mayors will join world leaders at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, which will unite governments and business communities in support of climate action. The summit will take place this September in San Francisco and is co-chaired by Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and a leading voice in climate change policy.

While C40 and the Global Climate Action Summit position women like Bowser and Espinosa at the forefront of the battle against climate change, there is still work to be done. To better serve women throughout the world, we need more female voices in the room shaping our policies and our understanding of climate change – an issue that affects us all.

Take Action Challenge:

  • Raise your voice and share how you see climate change solutions in your community by using #EyeOnClimate in your Instagram posts.


View this post on Instagram

We’ve seen the impacts of #climatechange, but what about the solutions? . Today, we relaunch the #EyeOnClimate campaign challenging @Instagram users everywhere to spotlight stories of climate action and resilience: renewable energy, conservation, sustainable transportation, lifestyle changes, and so much more. . This September, the Global Climate Action Summit, #GCAS2018, arrives at a pivotal moment to take climate action to the next level, at every level to meet the goals of the #ParisAgreement. But how can we mobilize the range of solutions we need if we don’t see them? . Share your stories with us, using #EyeOnClimate. See the link in our bio for more!

A post shared by United Nations Foundation (@unfoundation) on

Share this post!