Women are stepping up to the plate in the fight against climate change.
Earlier this year, the UN appointed six women to hold the highest positions in its efforts to fight climate change. Patricia Espinosa was approved in late May to replace Christiana Figueres as the UN Climate Chief. Ms. Espinosa will be joined by Ségolène Royal, Hakima El Haite, Laurence Tubiana, Sarah Baashan, and Jo Tyndall—creating an all-female team to lead UN talks.
According to Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, women on average have made up just 30 percent of delegates at the annual summit since 2008.
Some have argued that women are more severely harmed by climate change, which has promoted the notion that women should be leading efforts to save the environment.
Canada’s female Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, was recently bombarded with harsh criticisms after tweeting that women are more vulnerable to climate change effects. In the US, a woman leads environmental issues: Gina McCarthy is the US Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
McKenna is not alone in her stance that women are the greater victims of climate change, despite being targeted with great criticism. “Because of these existing gender inequalities that are perpetuated by customs, social practices, and even economic structures, women are more vulnerable,” says Verona Collantes, a climate change specialist with UN Women told VICE News.
Women stepping up to positions of leadership for fighting against climate change are significant not only because they might be the greater victims of the environmental phenomenon, but also because women are better positioned to bring tangible change.
According to the UN Women and Climate Change Factsheet, women worldwide are in a greater position to contribute to changing environmental realities due to their roles in the household.