Women are a catalyst of the green economy. Here’s How. In the recent Glasgow climate pact, 200 nations attended the COP26 conference. The main concern is global warming as a fatal threat to the planet. So, to prevent the temperature from rising even more the attention has shifted to green economies.
Hence, the green economy is the adaptive strategy to the severe challenges imposed by climate change. However, before advocating for women’s role in the green economy, it’s crucial to understand how climate change wreaks havoc on women specifically.
The Origin of the term ” Green Economy”
In 1989, a group of leading environmental economists from the UK coined the term “green economy”. The Rio Summit adopted this term in 1992. By 2008, the term entered the international development course. As a result, many countries launched “green stimulus programs“.
UNEP defines a green economy as ‘improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.
Therefore, the green economy is driven by less carbon emission. It prevents the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity. Therefore, it’s a process that requires skills in handling natural resources.
Women are a Natural Catalyst to the Green Economy
Historically, women have been effective and enthusiastic agents of adaptation to climate change. Globally, 564million women work in agriculture. More than 60 percent of the women work in agriculture in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Gender Equity and Sustainability Sync
It is a fact that environmental sustainability and gender equality are neglected in economies. Many of the profits are taken at the cost of these two. They are the two sides of the same coin. Enable one, and the other will thrive. Hence, enabling women to boost the green economy is the smart solution.
More importantly, the world’s food demand will rise by 35 percent in 2030. Women’s livelihoods are directly attached to natural resources. Working and using their shrewd skills to boost the green economy will benefit the whole cycle of poverty elimination and cultural change. Women are already skilled in the main pillars of the green economy including agriculture, forestry, and livestock keeping.
A Green Strategy Anchored Around Women
For years, women have accumulated experience in livestock keeping, food production, reforestation, tackling soil erosion, and agriculture. As a result, women are astute to transition to the green economy swiftly. The Ethiopian resilience strategy to the green economy shares the same pillar of transitioning. However, achieving sustainable economies will require a smart strategy devised around women enablement:
- Women are the major agricultural labor force
- Women possess a pool of wisdom related to climate mitigation
- Gender equity should be given the utmost priority
- The Decision-making process should be inclusive of women
- Climate change education for women working in the field
- Training to use innovative devices and machinery
- Credit access and funding to women entrepreneurs
- Green jobs and STEM education for women
Women and the Future of Green Economy
Currently, women lag behind men when it comes to acquiring green jobs. The increasing gender gap in the fastest-growing and highest-paid opportunities is due to women lagging in STEM education. Only 29% of women hold green jobs in 88 million jobs. The figure may fall to 25% as the total number of jobs is expected to rise by 155 million.
Today women hold 9% of jobs in construction, 12% in engineering, 15% in finance, and 24% in manufacturing. Therefore, encouraging and promoting women is a must to foster STEM education.
Women and Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Investment and funding of women is another tool. Investment in public and private sectors to enable women for a green economy is essential. Small women farmers should be given funding and land credits. For instance, Malala funds and hive fund for climate and gender justice supports brown, black, and indigenous women.
The world is progressing by the day thanks to technology and science. What is static or regressing is women’s inclusion in the decision-making process, economic, weather, and climate issues. We take too little effort to enable women with STEM education that matters.
Women represent a smart and useful half of the population that can be educated to serve well the green economy and the planet. Use them!
Authored by Afsheen Khan