International Womens Day

8th March 2021

Choose To Challenge

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. 

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 is 'Choose To Challenge'. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. So let's all #ChooseToChallenge.

Gender equality, women’s empowerment and climate change

A changing climate poses risks for all of humanity. However, for women and girls in particular, many of whom spend a disproportionate amount of time searching for food, fuel and water, or struggling to grow crops the differentiated impact is tremendous. In fact, when disasters strike, women are more likely than men to die, such as the case of the 2004 Asian tsunami were 70 per cent of the fatalities were women.

Women and girls are also key leaders and agents of change. They play a critical, but often unrecognized, role in climate action and the management of natural resources. In most developing countries, for example, women are the primary household energy managers and can also be powerful agents of change in the transition to sustainable energy. Women entrepreneurs have enormous potential to create distribution and service networks in rural areas, helping to lower the cost and increase access to sustainable energy. As decision-makers, they have offered innovative solutions to respond to climate change impacts and to making development more sustainable overall.

Stories of change  

UN Women works to combat climate change by advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment in mitigating and adapting to climate change, against the backdrop of achieving equitable and inclusive sustainable development. The organization calls for women to be heard at all levels of decision-making, from households to political arenas. In global climate change negotiations, UN Women actively promotes commitments to gender equality and women’s rights as well as women’s contributions to all aspects of mitigation and adaptation. Its global programmes and projects seek to help women build resilience, use environmentally-friendly fuel and production, and plan ahead of disasters. These human impact stories provide a snapshot of this work:

Women in Bangladesh build resilience against climate change
In 10 of the most climate-vulnerable districts of Bangladesh, more than 19,100 women have built better systems of support and preparation for disasters, while livelihood skills training has enabled more than 1,600 women to expand their businesses.

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In Mali, renewable energy boosts agricultural production
UN Women supports hundreds of women in 13 rural areas by transforming the economic and social landscape to support their resilience in the face of climate change. In areas with no electricity, the women receive solar- and gas-powered equipment allowing them to process and market local products.

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In Moroccan oases, women watch plants and incomes grow
A group of women living in Moroccan oases have found a unique way to earn and income and mitigate the effects of climate change on their environment by cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants, using renewable energy.

Caribbean women protect crops through green technologies
Through workshops on more sustainable farming techniques, women farmers in Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica are finding a more reliable way of making a living. They learn about water conservation, rain-water harvesting and the importance of protecting the environment to secure their livelihood.

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Putting women at the forefront of climate change and disaster response in the Pacific
Whether training women solar engineers in Fiji or assisting with the humanitarian response plan after a major cyclone in Tonga, UN Women is working with climate-change and disaster-management professionals across the Pacific for effective and gender-inclusive climate-change-related planning.