Today, people from over 150 countries are standing behind the youth climate strikers and demanding action on climate change.
Simply put, this global crisis is a gendered crisis. Women around the world are – and will increasingly be – disproportionally impacted by climate change. They are more likely to depend on resources for their livelihoods and/or care of their families that are most at risk because of climate change, such as sourcing water and food for their families.
Despite the fact that Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by climate change and are leaders in climate justice, their voices are noticeably absent at decision-making tables. Forces of colonization worked to strip women of their traditional roles of knowledge-keepers of their land, families and communities. Governments and businesses destroy ecosystems and extract natural resources without the consent of Indigenous communities. Climate change harms Indigenous ways of life and their health. Indigenous women have stepped up as leaders against these attacks. They are among the strongest climate justice activists and protectors of Mother Earth. However, their voices are not being heard enough on the global stage.
Climate change is also increasingly causing displacement of populations around the world from their lands and homes because of supercharged storms, more intense droughts, rising seas, conflict, and other climate change impacts, and women are most impacted. According to Oxfam, it is more difficult for women to access humanitarian assistance and they are at greater risk of gender-based violence. Despite this, women displaced or at risk of displacement are vastly underrepresented in climate action decisions and strategies.
To see meaningful action on climate change, women and youth, and especially those impacted by displacement and from Indigenous communities, must be fully included in decisions and their knowledge must be honoured.
It can no longer stand that women are the most affected but the least included in climate change. It’s time we turned up the volume on women and young women like Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, Vandana Shiva, Joan Carling, Màxima Acuña, and so many others.
West Central Women’s Resource Centre is proud to take part in the Global Climate Strike.