Giving Compass' Take:

• Michelle Milford Morse explains that funders, NGOs, and governments need to support the leadership of girls and women in order to advance climate action. 

• How can funders identify leaders who are ready to take action with additional support? Who in your community is already working on these issues? 

• Learn why educated women are the answer to climate change.

Last October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offered a stark choice – greater food security and more protection for our oceans, coral reefs, biodiversity, and people, or disastrous levels of warming with higher risks of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and resulting poverty.

We have another related choice to make – to keep girls and women on the sidelines of the climate movement, or to harness their wisdom and leadership to seize the opportunity to protect the planet and usher in new solutions for a healthier and more sustainable world for all.

It’s a choice. But the right answer is clear. That is why on July 17, 2019, a group of gender equality and climate justice leaders – including Chair of The Elders Mary Robinson and UN Foundation leaders – issued a clarion call for women’s inclusion in the response to climate change.

Girls and women are already addressing the climate crisis in innovative ways that heal, rather than deepen, systemic injustices. However, their voices and needs are too often under-represented, and their efforts inadequately measured and supported. That has to end. The climate movement cannot succeed without an urgent upsurge in women’s global leadership.

In communities, we need the wisdom and leadership of girls and women to advance adaptation, mitigation, and solutions, from the adoption of smarter agricultural, urban development, and transport practices to the development of renewable energy. Girls and women are key to building community resilience, responding to climate-related disaster risks, and rebuilding in the wake of catastrophe.

In all levels of government, women’s leadership is required to raise our ambitions and secure political will. Research has shown that women leaders are more likely to prioritize conservation efforts and countries with higher numbers of women in political leadership were more likely to ratify environmental treaties and protect land. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, countries with higher rates of women in climate leadership and increased schooling for girls fare better in terms of their overall vulnerability to climate disasters.

Read the full article about supporting the leadership of girls and women by Michelle Milford Morse at United Nations Foundation.