Powerful Women Headline Cancun WAGE Events

A stellar group of international women leaders illustrated clearly the potential of women's contributions to finding solutions to the climate crises at two groundbreaking events in Cancun last week for our official launch of the Earth Day Network “Women and the Green Economy” (WAGE)™ Campaign.

At the World Climate Summit, which convened over 800 hundred of the top business leaders and green entrepreneurs from around the globe, including Sir Richard Branson and Ted Turner, EDN’s panel discussed the most effective roles for women in creating the green economy.  Before an overflowing room of women leaders, speakers also highlighted the impediments and opportunities that women face in leading the green business movement.  The panel included Sarah Severn, Director of Horizons, Corporate Responsibility, Nike Inc.; Marina Grossi, President, Business Council for Sustainable Development of Brazil; Martha Duggan, Vice President, Government Relations, United Solar Ovonic; Denise Bode, CEO of American Wind Energy Association; and Tania Esparza, Managing Director, Iniciativa México.

EDN also partnered with the United Nations Foundation in a major invitation-only event, featuring Martha Duggan, Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization, and EDN President Kathleen Rogers.  Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and Helen Clark, head of United Nations Development Program joined other key government and international finance, civil society and non-governmental organization leaders from developed and developing countries in participating.

The high-level participants identified and discussed the unique skills and values that women bring to the green economy, ranging from skills in managing investment risk, the importance they place on fiscal responsibility, collaboration, partnership, and on addressing long-term social impacts as part of their strategic green economy vision. Among the key barriers they identified were the lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women, access to capital for entrepreneurs, lack of incentives for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, and cultural norms in many countries. 

EDN’s next steps for the WAGE Campaign include growing a high-power Global Advisory Committee, commissioning a global index on the status of women in the green economy and creating a roadmap of regional and international consultations with women leaders around the world. EDN and our many partners are developing a policy platform that will be presented at the Rio +20 Earth Summit.