Earth Day: Feminists at the Forefront of Climate Action

May 7, 2021

On Earth Day, April 22, the Equality Fund hosted Feminist Movements and Lasting Change. The interactive event explored research by Simon Fraser University professor Laurel Weldon on how autonomous feminist movements have been a force to advance global gender equality.

Meanwhile, south of the border, several countries made climate action pledges at President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate.

These two events may not seem related, but they both represent pieces of the same puzzle: powerful ways to address the climate crisis. 

Climate change disproportionately impacts women and girls. At the same time, girls, youth, and women are essential to developing and implementing effective responses to climate change. The Equality Fund provides core, flexible, multi-year funding to feminist organizations that work across a variety of issues and sectors—climate action included. 

Our grantee partner Forum des femmes pour la gouvernance des ressources naturelles (FFGRN) builds the capacity of African women civil society actors, Parliamentarians, journalists, public servants, and rural residents to participate in natural resource governance. Efforts include advocating for inclusive energy that reinforces rural women’s access and reduces deforestation, thus mitigating climate change. 

In terms of climate change adaptation, Nous Sommes la Solution (NSS) promotes the voices of West African rural women in agricultural governance at the local, national, and Africa-wide levels. Women are both the backbone of the rural economy and most vulnerable to climate change. NSS advocates for rural women’s equal access to services, resources, and decision-making processes. NSS also sits on the Senegal government’s pilot committee to transform Senegal’s agroecological sector. Its President, Mariama Sonko, is a member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa’s Board of Directors. 

Action femme et eco-justice (AFECOJU) combats gender-based violence and promotes the rights of women, girls, and trans people alongside climate, environment, and energy justice. AFECOJU undertakes awareness campaigns on the causes of climate change and its consequences on harvests, women’s health, and access to natural resources. Its advocacy aims to combat deforestation and increase the supply of green energy. 

If we don’t act now, youth and future generations will bear the brunt of climate change repercussions. Already, youth are demanding climate justice for themselves and their descendants. The youth-led AFECOJU is one example. 

The Equality Fund looks forward to Canada’s renewed commitment to climate finance. We encourage Canada to align its approach with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, which commits Canada to providing “better support for local women’s organizations and movements…These groups lead the way when it comes to pushing for gender equality but often lack the resources needed to provide the help women and girls need.” 

On Earth Day—and every day—girls, youth, and women are on the front lines of climate change, and must be at the forefront of climate action. The Equality Fund calls for donors to better resource women’s organizations and movements, including those working at the intersection of gender and climate justice, to achieve lasting change.

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