Why the Green Economy Must Engage Women

A whopping 2.4 billion people worldwide, primarily in the southern hemisphere, rely on biomass fuels such as wood charcoal and dung for heat and cooking. Women are overwhelmingly responsible for collecting and managing it, often contributing to deforestation and suffering ill health effects for their efforts.

At yesterday’s Women’s Leadership in the Green Economy workshop at the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference, representatives of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Gender Action and Earth Day Network decried the myopia of not including enough women’s voices to formulate policies on such issues. When it comes to biomass fuel, said WEDO’s Eleanor Blomstrom, “How can we engage these women? Women in the developed world must be part of defining the green economy for the good of the planet.”

Fellow panelists Nicole Zarafonetis of Gender Action and Kathleen Rogers of Earth Day Network told a large crowd at the  workshop that, while women in the South are most affected, their counterparts in the developed world – such as attendees of the conference – must seize integral leadership in every step of shaping the growing green economy. Said Rogers, “It is not enough that women hold 50% of the green jobs, or even 50% of corporate positions. Women need to have parity in thought and ideas leadership.”

Earth Day Network’s Women and the Green Economy (WAGE™) Campaign works to address this need, and is excited to be working with organizations like WEDO and Gender Action to further the discussion as we prepare for significant upcoming climate and sustainability negotiations. Stay tuned for more outcomes of this workshop, and for more updates on our work.