Op-ed: We can’t leave tackling the climate crisis to men
Make women and gender equality a priority in climate policy, wrote Rebecca Heuvelmans (Women Engage for a Common Future), Marjon Melissen (ActionAid), Esin Erdogan (Simavi), Annelieke Douma (Both Ends) and Eva Lia Colombo (Wo=men Dutch Gender Platform) in Dutch newspaper Trouw. Sunday March 5, they'll join the Feminist March in Amsterdam.
This op-ed was published in Trouw on Saturday March 4. Read the English translation below.
From furious feminists to clamorous climate activists. The image that tends to come into people's minds when they think of protestors is one of anger. And although there is enough to be angry about, this view of feminists and climate activists overlooks the most important thing they have in common: hope.
In essence, feminists and climate activists believe the same thing: that a fair and liveable world is possible with structural change. That's why, at protests by both, the same slogan is often heard: "another world is possible".
At the climate march, we took part as feminists, and this weekend at the Feminist March we will make our voices heard for the climate. Together with ActionAid, Both ENDS, Simavi, WO=MEN and Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) we are taking to the streets for gender equality and climate justice, because the two are irrevocably linked together. And this is why:
The climate crisis increases existing inequalities
Women in all their diversity – and especially women from the Global South – are disproportionately affected by climate change. Prevailing norms, power relations, laws and discrimination make women more vulnerable.
Figures from the United Nations show that 80% of all climate refugees are women. If women are displaced, they run a greater risk of falling victim to violence, including sexual violence. Moreover, the majority of people living in poverty worldwide are women, meaning that they feel the effects of climate change more severely. We can see that in the Netherlands, too. Women more often suffer from energy poverty, so that here too they are less able to invest in sustainable energy or home insulation.
There is too little investment in women's climate initiatives
Women have long been aware of the immediate dangers of climate change in their local contexts, because they are often responsible for managing water and food supplies. They are therefore often the first to take action and employ practical solutions. Women in Nigeria, for example, plant mangrove forests to make the Niger delta, which has been polluted by oil, liveable again and to store CO2. Or the women across South America who are taking the lead in setting up food forests so that they can continue to produce food in a changing climate.
Unfortunately, these gender-just and sustainable climate solutions do not receive the necessary financial and political support. A recent analysis by the EU Court of Auditors was damning about the lack of attention to the situation of women in the European climate fund. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs also gave itself a 'fail' for its efforts in this area.
The current approach leaves women to their fate, while they must be actively involved if the successes are to be achieved that are essential in the fight against climate change.
Involving women in climate policy is simply a smart move
At the Climate Change Conference in Egypt, only 37% of the negotiators from countries around the world were women. Even more alarming, women spoke for only 29% of the total speaking time. This a proven recipe for less ambitious climate policy: research from 2019 showed that female representation in national parliaments led to stricter climate policies in the countries concerned, resulting in lower CO2 emissions.
Unfortunately, women's potential in this area continues to be underestimated at local, national and international level. That is not only unfair, but also unwise. All around the world, women are the driving force behind climate protests and in finding and employing solutions for the climate crisis. It is time that we acknowledge, support and make use of that leadership.
Effective climate action is feminist
Let us join together to tackle this problem in a radically different way. By putting women at the centre of climate policy, investing in their solutions and giving them an equal place at the negotiating tables.
Until that is achieved, furious feminists and clamorous climate activists will continue to take to the streets. And, if we have anything to do with it, at the same time. To paraphrase the words of former minister Els Borst: "the climate is too important to leave only to men".
For more information
Read more about this subject
Event / 25 May 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
What does an economy look like that serves the well-being of people and the planet?
A wide range of great ideas about a transition to sustainable and just economic systems already exist, including ways to get there and examples that show that it is really possible. In this talkshow, we highlight some of these examples and hope to fuel the dialogue about this topic.
Inspired? Join our 'The Future We See' - talkshow on May 25th! You can either attend live or online, quietly listen or actively participate in the discussion. We hope to see you there!
News / 18 April 2023
In these uncertain times of accumulating national, international and global crises, we need hope and inspiration more than ever. Fortunately, many hopeful ideas and initiatives are already existing that show that it is indeed possible to change the world - and especially the systems behind it - in a sustainable and fair way. What opportunities are to be found, what is hopeful, what is already happening and how can we, as the Netherlands, respond to this?
News / 22 March 2021
An increasing number of stakeholders in the Dutch water sector are acknowledging the importance of an inclusive approach to climate adaptation. However, where our knowledge institutes and companies are involved in delta plans and master plans, as in Bangladesh and the Philippines, this approach is proving difficult to apply in practice. Taking local realities, vulnerabilities and inequalities – such as those between men and women – as a starting point is essential for good plans that give everyone the opportunity to adapt to climate change.
External link / 14 December 2021
Launched in 2016, GAGGA is a consortium led by Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres in collaboration with Mama Cash and Both ENDS. GAGGA rallies the collective power of gender, climate and environmental justice movements around the world. Watch the video to learn more about what GAGGA does and who's involved.
Publication / 2 November 2021
External link / 19 June 2020
In 2019, Karambot Women's Agriculture Group (Nepal) convinced their municipality to fund its proposed irrigation plan, after they followed a planning and budgeting training.
Event / 14 April 2018, 11:30
On the 14th of April, Both ENDS wil host a workshop called 'Small Grants, Big Impacts' on the annual Africa day in Amsterdam. The workshop aims to demonstrate that so called 'small grants funds' effectively deliver (devopment and climate) money where it matters, to people that need it the most. Large development banks, funds, donors and governments could use small grants funds as alternative financing mechanisms to make sure their money benefits people and their environment now and it the far future.
Event / 20 June 2018, 09:15 - 11:00
The Green Climate Fund aims to support transformational pathways to climate-resilient development, intends to reach those most vulnerable, and commits to a gender-sensitive approach. This session presents an important way of putting these commitments into practice: by engaging small grants funds. These funds can provide the much needed channel between large international institutions and local communities adapting to climate change, and assure financing reaches women and men to contribute to transformative climate action. But how to make this shift in how financing is delivered? The audience will be actively engaged in the discussion to come to concrete suggestions to strengthen local access and gender responsiveness of climate finance.
Publication / 18 June 2018
Small grants funds offer an effective, alternative way to channel big money from large donors and funds to local groups and organisations that are striving for a sustainable and just society everywhere around the world.
News / 9 November 2023
Both ENDS has two new interim directors from November 9: Annelieke Douma and Karin van Boxtel. After 15 years, Danielle Hirsch hands over the directorship. She is currently standing for election to the GroenLinks/PvdA list. Annelieke and Karin will lead Both ENDS during the transition period to a new director of Both ENDS. Together with the board and the organisation, the new directors duo is full of energy to get to work in the coming months.
Event / 23 March 2023, 13:15 - 14:30
The UN Water Conference is an important event that brings together stakeholders from around the world to discuss water and climate solutions. This year, GAGGA is organizing a side event during the conference that you won't want to miss!
On Thursday March 23rd, from 1.15 -2.30 pm, GAGGA will present their commitment to support, finance, and promote locally rooted, gender just climate and water solutions within the Water Action Agenda. This event will inspire other stakeholders to join in their commitment, while presenting inspiring examples of such solutions presented by local women from Nepal, Kenya, Paraguay, Mexico, and Nigeria.
Letter / 19 October 2022
In May 2022, Minister Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs and Minister Schreinemacher for International Trade and Development Cooperation announced that also The Netherlands will work towards implementing a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP). This means that within its Foreign Policy, the Netherlands will pay more attention to inclusivity in general and specifically to women's rights and gender equality, including LGBTIQ+. This feminist lens will be central to all aspects of foreign policy; security, trade, diplomacy and international cooperation.
To foster an inclusive process and acquire insights in what a Dutch FFP should look like, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened an internet consultation. Both ENDS welcomes the FFP and therefore gladly shares its input and suggestions.
The lion's share of public budgets for climate, agriculture and development still goes to conventional agroindustrial projects that contribute to the current climate, food and biodiversity crises. Both ENDS and our partners are calling for a transition to agroecological practices that are people- and environment-friendly.
Event / 25 March 2022, 16:00 - 17:30
What does feminist climate action look like and what does it lead to? Join us to hear from grassroots activists who will share their lived experiences and recommendations for equitable, just, and sustainable strategies to tackle the most pressing issue of our time. Global Greengrants Fund and the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) will formally launch our joint campaign commitment to support these frontline climate solutions alongside the UN Women Generation Equality Forum’s Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition. Register today to learn how to mobilize more and better support for feminist climate action.
Event / 15 March 2022, 11:00 - 12:30
Join us at the 66st UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) for a critical conversation about the intersections of climate, gender and sustainable development. Land defenders and gender rights advocates will join ministry representatives from Sweden, Chile and the Netherlands in a discussion about feminist leadership in protecting land, promoting climate solutions and supporting truly sustainable development strategies. In this session, we aim to explore how governments and feminist climate movements can best work together to tackle the root causes of the climate crisis.
Blog / 7 December 2020
Five years of GAGGA: “Once you understand what gender justice is about, your perspective will change for good”
Almost five years ago, the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) started its journey to bring together the often still quite separate worlds of environmental justice organisations and the women's rights movement. At Both ENDS, Annelieke Douma and Tamara Mohr have been coordinating the GAGGA programme. Together they look back at five years of learning, connecting and enjoying the fruits of this innovative programme.
Publication / 26 November 2020
Publication / 3 November 2017
Publication / 11 October 2017