This year International Women’s Day theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, reflecting the interconnectedness amongst women’s rights, gender equality and climate justice!
Plenty of scientific data has proved that climate change has a greater and disproportionate impact towards the most vulnerable, especially for women and girls in situation of poverty, that rely mainly on natural resources for their livelihoods.
Women and girls constitute the majority of the world’s poorest, and it is exactly like climate that poverty has a gender dimension. Gender-based stereotypes that are influenced by social norms restrict women’s economic empowerment by prescribing the roles that women and men should play in society, at home and in the economic sphere. This results in women having significantly less access to information and networks, assets and resources that will enable them to respond to the adverse effects of climate change. According to Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, 80% of people displaced by the climate emergency are women and children.
It is high time that a sustainable future should be built beyond gender equality, but rather focus on gender equity!
A sustainable tomorrow is much broader than climate change and requires an understanding of complex environmental, social and economic drivers. Cooperatives, as people-centered economic models – through their values of self-help, equality and equity, and principles of voluntary and open membership and democratic control – are well-placed to address many of the issues that negatively impact women, especially to address the multifaceted issue of poverty and shape women’s wellbeing.
Cooperatives are a tool to achieve gender equity! By increasing women’s access to resources and economic opportunities; by empowering them not only economically but also individually and socially to challenge the social and cultural norms; by creating an enabling environment for them to use those opportunities and assets to achieve equal outcomes to men. The cooperative model has proved to be a mean of building long-term resilience, allowing communities, especially women and girls, to overcome multiple crisis and shocks, including the pandemic and the warlike conflicts that we are experiencing nowadays.
(READ MORE BELOW)