It’s not theoretical anymore: we’re in a climate crisis. And though some of the world’s finest minds are working hard on strategies to stave off the worst effects of the looming disaster, they often overlook a powerful climate solution: gender equality.

Women make up nearly half of the agricultural labor force in developing nations—yet in many countries they can’t even own the land on which they toil; they also often lack access to credit, education, and decision-making. On top of working on their farms, most women farmers must also care for children and fetch heavy loads of wood and water for household use.

Climate change worsens their plight. A recently published report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature suggests that when climate change causes natural resources to become scarce, traditional gender roles intensify—as does violence against women. Such abuse can prevent women from pursuing work, education, and other opportunities.

Depriving women of power and resources is not only unfair, it’s short-sighted. Project Drawdown, the respected climate-solution research organization, ranks the education of girls as one of the ten most powerful ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Educated women have more productive agricultural plots, steward their land better, and have fewer children.

With respect to women smallholders, specifically, Project Drawdown points out that inequality in assets, inputs, and support means women produce less on the same amount of land. Closing the gender gap would improve the lives of women and children—and fight climate change.

The fact is, the more power women have, the healthier their communities—and our climate—will be.

Read the full article about gender equality by Joky Francois at Food Tank.