November 30, 2023

Embracing equity within the climate movement for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, our Communications Officer Aimée Brownlow reports on the work the Climate Connections Women’s Group has been doing with support from Hope for the Future.

For this year's International Women's Day, Hope for the Future joins the world to #EmbraceEquity. This means recognising gender inequalities and taking the appropriate action to address this. We use the term equity to address the fact that equal opportunities are often not enough, since they fail to recognise individuals’ differing needs and the barriers created by sexism and other forms of discrimination.

At Hope for the Future, we work to increase equity in climate politics and help get more marginalised voices heard on climate change in government. Deep-rooted patriarchal structures make it harder for women to speak out about their concerns and be involved in the decision making, despite often being the most impacted. According to the World Economic Forum, it’s going to take 155 years to close the Political Empowerment gender gap, with the global average share of women in parliament currently at only 22.9%. We must act to ensure this gap is closed much faster than that, to bring us closer to a fairer and more just society. 

Woman singing at the Victory Day event at Oldham Library. Credit: Kooj Chuhan.

Hope for the Future plays an active role in empowering and equipping people to take part in UK democracy, putting more of our resources into reaching marginalised groups that might experience more barriers than others.

We recently supported The Climate Connections Women’s Group. They are a group of Bangladeshi women in Oldham, facilitated by Crossing Footprints and Oldham Libraries, that are getting their voices heard on climate change both locally and globally. Over a series of sessions they worked together to learn about climate change, the environment, and local democracy. These sessions created a space for the women to share their views and concerns on issues affecting their lives locally and globally and also helped improve their English language skills.

Two women performing at Oldham Library Victory Day event. Credit: Kooj Chuhan

They spoke a lot about the climate crisis in Bangladesh, discussing how it's one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, experiencing extreme weather, food insecurity and the loss of homes and lives. Yet Bangladesh only contributes a small share of global greenhouse gas emissions compared to richer countries. To achieve equity in the climate movement, Global South countries like Bangladesh must receive financial compensation from the Global North. England is yet to commit to this Loss and Damage fund.

The women created a colourful art exhibition using textiles and posters, which was displayed at an event for Bangladeshi Victory Day featuring local performers, musicians, and a presentation by the group. The exhibition was titled ‘A Future for Our Children’, depicting the call to action for cleaner streets around local schools and more international aid on the climate crisis in Bangladesh. 

Textile piece depicting climate impacts and the responsibility of rich countries. Credit: Alex Clegg.

It’s vital that groups like this get their voices heard by the government to achieve a just, fair, and green future for our people and planet. International Women’s Day is a great day of coming together and celebrating the action for gender equity that’s taking place within our communities. If you want expert support and training to help you get your voice heard on climate change, get in touch with Hope for the Future

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