EDN-India Holds WAGE Discussion, Synthesizes Rio Recommendations

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Earth Day Network (EDN), in collaboration with Aspen Institute India and the Public Relations Society of India, Kolkata chapter, organized a Women and the Green Economy (WAGE)® luncheon in Kolkata on April 26. A group of 14 women from diverse fields – business, development, academia and public relations – came together at the home of Karuna Singh, India director at EDN.

They discussed what policies would support women playing a greater role in the green economy in India. The recommendations that came out of the session included:

  • All audits of natural resources need to include ownership information by gender.
  • The University Grants Commission should increase post-doctoral opportunities for women who take a break (perhaps because they have young children) and then come back to their fields.
  • In rural areas in particular, infrastructure such as toilets for women needs to be constructed in all academic institutions. The lack of such basic facilities causes many women to drop out of their studies.
  • Agricultural universities should have daycare facilities.
  • A comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses/Limitations, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis is needed to get a clearer idea about the role women are already playing in the green economy.
  • Women who are themselves empowered must be encouraged to empower others; governments should give such mentors tax breaks for doing that.
  • The corporate sector must support women playing a greater role, perhaps through job sharing.
  • There was also a suggestion to support women engaged in green jobs by forming them into a consortium. The green products they produce can then have special labeling, and the people who buy these products could earn points that can be traded for other green products.

Earth Day Network will incorporate these and other recommendations into the global WAGE consultative process and feed them directly into the Rio+20 processes, where EDN holds a seat on the Women’s Steering Committee.

EDN launched the WAGE campaign at the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun in 2011 to engage more women business, government, and NGO leaders to accelerate and lead a global green economy. In its simplest expression, a green economy is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. The shift to a green economy can be seen as a pathway to sustainable development, a journey rather than a destination.

The Green Economy focuses on green jobs. Specifically, but not exclusively, these include jobs that:

  • help protect ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • reduce the consumption of energy, water, and materials through high‐efficiency
  • strategies;
  • de‐carbonize the economy;
  • minimize or altogether avoid the generation of all forms of waste and pollution;
  • work to construct green buildings

The WAGE® campaign insists that women play a major role in defining and designing the green economy. Women constitute more than half of the world’s population. Their potential as an advocacy, political, and consumer bloc – if educated, organized and mobilized – is enormous.