EWL News

Climate is not gender neutral! Inspiring book launch celebrating collaboration between feminists and environmentalists

[Brussels, 24 May 2016] Yesterday, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) partnered for the launch of the book “Why women will save the planet”.

The book was published in November last year as part of a Friends of the Earth project called ‘Big Ideas Change the World’. This project is exploring some of the key issues that can help to transform our society and make faster progress towards the goals of environmental sustainability and well-being for everyone. Is women’s empowerment critical to environment sustainability? This is the question that the book aims to answer to.

EWL and FoEE event showed that a gender analysis is the starting point in making climate policy socially fair, and that a fight against climate change is a fight against gender inequality. By joining forces, the two movements broke the traditional way of working in silos, and brought stories of change which can stimulate all of us, thanks to inspiring speakers.


“Our economic & social system is based on patriarchal control of nature and women. Feminism and environmentalism are interlinked. We need to think again about how we make decisions, how we engage the public and the media, the language and tactics that we use. We need to understand how these might impact women and men differently and how we can change the way that we work to take account of this gender analysis. This has been a blind spot for us for too long, and the book has helped us to recognise this and to take action”, Jenny Hawley, editor of ‘Why Women Will Save the Planet’, independent consultant

“Climate change is not gender neutral. Women are disproportionally and more severely affected by climate change. Today women make up 20 of the 26 million estimated refugees displaced by climate change. Women, thus comprise 80 percent of the world’s climate refugees. Yet, less than one percent of climate funding is allocated specifically towards the need of women in the most affected countries. Empower women and we can change the world, that is the message from diverse actors such as UN special climate envoyé Mary Robinson and the World Bank”, Linnéa Engström MEP (Greens, Sweden), Rapporteur for the EP report on gender and climate change; author of ‘Climate feminism’

“In Madagascar, Antandroy men regard women as a ‘resource’, second only in importance to their cattle. Traditionally excluded from decision-making processes, Antandroy women are not allowed to speak in public. In the remote lands of southern Madagascar, both traditional and new media have made a powerful contribution to how women effect social, economic and environmental change”, Yvonne Orengo, Director of the Andrew Lees Trust UK and contributor to ‘Why Women Will Save the Planet’

“There are many links between environment and women’s health, but research is still male-oriented. Environmental policies impact directly on the health and living standards of individuals. We need more collaboration around health, gender and environment”, Génon Jensen, Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

More on EWL work on women and the environment: last June, we hold a webinar on the issue, as part of our Beijing+20 Year of Action, and last November we issued our recommendations to COP21.

9 amazing women who defended the environment, by Jenny Hawley

More on Friends of the Earth projectBig Ideas Change the World

More on Linnéa Engström’s work on climate and feminism here.

More on Yvonne Orengo’s work here.

More on HEAL – Health and Environment Alliance here.

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