Can Gender Equality Lead to a Greener Future?

Young African girl carrying a heavy water container on her head, symbolising traditional roles of women in society blocking access to education, equal rights and independence

 Article written by Emma Ahl

press release from UN Women states that,“by 2050, climate change will push up to 158 million more women and girls into poverty and lead to 236 million more women into hunger.” There has to be a change if we want to better our climate and our standards for equality. Today, women make up roughly half of the world’s population, however, this has not stopped gender inequality from remaining one of the topmost persistent issues on our planet. Women within the labor market are still making “23 percent less than men and spend three times as many hours in unpaid domestic work as men”, as stated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Organisation. There continues to be a strong division between men and women, causing women to suffer and be forced to try and make something of themselves in a world that is limiting them to do so. Specifically in less developed countries, women are facing challenges such as a lack of education, access to quality healthcare, and many economic disadvantages that are forcing women into poverty and unliveable environments. This has a drastic effect on our world not only economically but environmentally as well. Gender inequality creates a society where women are unfairly affected by environmental issues like natural disasters, not given proper opportunities to build awareness, and are unable to showcase their perspectives and solutions to the challenges we face. It is extremely important that as our society moves into the future, that women are given more fair opportunities to thrive in their own skin and showcase their abilities to benefit our earth. Empowering women single handedly drives progress toward a more sustainable environment and here’s why.

We Can’t Fix the Climate Without Women    

The title is simply self-explanatory, women hold the environment on their shoulders. A quote from the World Health Organization states, “Women constitute the greatest proportion of the population that is reliant on natural resources threatened by the risk of climate change”. Within all areas, industries, and countries, women are essential to fixing the climate crisis. Females in less developed countries often have a hands-on engagement with agriculture and water collection, which heavily    impacts conservation positively.

Within the corporate world, specifically in the fashion industry, women are constantly promoting and highlighting initiatives for others to take around the world as well as what procedure businesses can be implementing to become more eco-friendly. Currently women are known to have significantly smaller carbon footprints than men and more genuine motivation to protect our climate and curate the best ways to do so. A piece from Harvard’s Article Review, We Can’t Fight Climate Change Without Fighting for Gender Equity, explains, “that organisations with more female executives and board members have better performance in environmental impact”. Women play a crucial role in the efforts towards sustainability development. By building a society that breaks down the barriers of gender inequality, we can allow for all to contribute to the well-being of our earth.

Women As a Driving Force for Sustainable Fashion

Throughout the world, women have been creating communities welcoming all females; business owners, entrepreneurs, mothers, etc., to come together to build a better future. Fashion has been one of the largest industries women have been able to make a change towards sustainable development. Women have the critical role of being a producer, influencer, consumer, and advocate all in one within the fashion world. Their various roles allow them to create awareness about the detrimental impact that the retail business has created, and what practices can be taken to reduce those impacts.

Women owned sustainable small fashion business

 LO’AMMI’s writer, Suzy Walsh states, “These women-led fashion brands are disrupting the traditional fashion industry and challenging the status quo by offering eco-friendly alternatives to mainstream fashion.” Women within the fashion industry are courageous enough to go outside of the box that “fast fashion” has created in today’s generation. They are constantly seeking new ways to ethically source, upcycle and recycle, and use zero waste products to produce one-of-a-kind pieces that have a minuscule impact on the environment. Many women believe that the fashion industry has created a world where it is normal to negatively impact our environment and take advantage of our earth. These fearless women are driving the path to emphasize the need to reduce unwanted environmental impacts and highlight what the world can look like if we genuinely care for it.

Paving the Way

 By empowering women and showcasing the talent that they each hold individually and bringing it together, our world will continue to prosper. As beautifully stated by Priyanka Chopra, famous actor and women activist, “It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, it matters how big your dreams are.” Connect yourself to these women who are creating communities to thrive in and become an unstoppable force that started from the bottom. They felt voices that needed to be heard, people that needed to be seen and understood, so they did just that. They listened. They came together, crafted a union with a vision of what our world could look like with genuine sustainability procedures, and ran with it. There was no need for validation, only a goal to be seen as equal and make the earth healthier. Chopra says in her motivational speech, “diversity shouldn't even be a conversation, it should be normal.” Without diversity, we lack the ability to connect and understand not only our fellow individuals, but also our environment. Women have continued to prove their worthiness to our society socially and environmentally. They were motivated by the very concept of finding their “why”. Women all around the world have come together because of this. As influential Marketing Advisor for entrepreneurs, Chris Cardell states, “You need a good why for what your goals and ambitions are [...] choice alone isn’t enough.” These women found their desire to better the earth and built a community to not only fight for environmental initiatives but uplift each other while doing so. By continuing to increase awareness and connect with women around the world, there is no stopping what we are capable of. 

Finding Your “Why?”

After reading this, I encourage you to find what motivates you – what cultivates you to reach those desires and dreams that fill your mind. Many people are fearful of the ambitions they have that are “outside of the box” or aren't deemed as reasonable. Though, your life is anything you choose to make of it. In a constantly changing and evolving world, you can become whoever or whatever you want to be. Chopra says, “you can thrive in anything you chase”. Just like women everywhere are doing, chasing for equality and activism towards our climate, and continuing to thrive in all aspects, despite the obstacles still being faced along the way. Find that “why", that purpose to become the best version of yourself and chase your goals. Don't be afraid to showcase that to the world. So, as you continue your journey in life, don't forget to reflect on your aspirations. Figure out what and who inspires you. And finally, believe in yourself. The possibilities for what you can achieve are boundless.


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