“Women and girls have the solution to the climate crisis” – W7 hosts high-level side event on the margins of the 66th CSW

Wednesday, 16 March 2022 | 10:00-11:30am EDT

Why are women’s & girls’ leadership key to sustainable climate action? What does it mean to develop effective mitigation & adaption measures that leave no one behind?

On the occasion of the 2022 G7 presidency, the Federal Republic of Germany partnered with Deutscher Frauenrat and Women7 to promote the necessary debate on women’s empowerment and leadership in the context of climate change. Together they organized a hybrid side event on the margins of the 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. The Japanese government – who will host next year’s G7 presidency – and the European Union  were co-sponsors of the event.

The event started off with two powerful welcoming remarks from Ekin Deligöz, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and from Juliane Rosin, Director for International Gender Equality Policy at Deutscher Frauenrat.

“Let’s be frank: We are exhausted from two years of COVID-19, in pain for Ukraine, but we are here at the 66th Commission on the Status of Women in solidarity. Not to fix a broken system but to fundamentally change the world.” W7 Lead Rosin stated in her speech.

Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality, set the scene of the event’s panel discussion with an inspiring keynote on the role of the European Union in promoting women’s and girls’ leadership in climate action measures:

“The European Climate Pact will strive for gender equality among its ambassadors and will forster the diffusion of science-based information about the social and gender equality aspects of climate change”

Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Alexandria Villaseñor, US Climate Justice Activist from Fridays for Future and Spogmay Ahmed, W7 Advisor and Global Policy Advocate at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) kicked off the debate underlining the necessity of gender-transformative strategies and policy approaches to climate change:

“Only 20 out of 193 UN member states have a gender-equal cabinet. Newly elected prime ministers and presidents must recognize that promoting an equal and diverse representation in their cabinets is essential for meaningful change!” Bhatia emphasized when asked about barriers to the meaningful participation of women in all their diversity in climate action policy.

Climate activist Villaseñor made it clear that youth would give G7 leaders no other choice than to include them: “Educate, empower and include women and girls around the world in the space of climate action or we will take it for ourselves.”

“Women, girls and marginalized communities have the solutions to the climate crisis. What we need is the political will to acknowledge them as political partners and – most importantly – to ensure that civil society organizations working on these issues are properly funded” Spogmay Ahmed added.

Multiple statements from the audience contributed to this vivid discussion and highlighted the urgency to act upon women’s empowerment and leadership in the context of the climate crisis. Elena Bonetti, Italian Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities, Élisabeth Moreno, French Minister for Equality, British Baroness Deborah Stedman-Scott and Susanne O’Malley, past chair of the NGO Committee of the CSW enriched the debate with powerful statements among many others.

The Japanese Government who will take over G7 Presidency in the upcoming year was represented by Seiko Noda, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment and Minister of State for Gender Equality. In her video statement she inter alia emphasized the increase in domestic violence and sexual assault in the context of climate and health crises.

W7 Lead Juliane Rosin closed the event with a summary of take-aways and promised to feed the collected asks and statements into the ongoing W7 Dialogue process.

“What I have heard today is: We need equal representation of women, girls & marginalized groups. We need gender transformative budgeting both public & private, […] and gender disaggregated data. When there is a political will, there is a way!”

Photos © Andrea Renault | German UN Mission

Interested in more insights of the event? Please watch the full recording linked below.