International Women’s Day was created not only to commemorate the achievements on the road to equality but also to highlight the issues that remain. This year, by designating it with the theme “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, the UN has decided to spotlight the added vulnerability that women face when affected by climate change.
This is due to a number of reasons, including the fact that women are usually in charge of gathering resources in rural communities, and therefore suffer the consequences of their depletion the most. They also tend to be allocated less decision-making power when it comes to environmental resources and has fewer rights to land ownership. Often, the intersection of gender and poverty worsens the effects of climate change.
There have been some solutions proposed including allocating more decision-making power to women, promoting women’s education to increase their chances of employment and mitigating the economic effects of climate catastrophes and relocation, and creating gender-responsive climate risk plans. A lot of these are macro-level possible solutions are macro-level. However, there is a lot you can do, even without leaving campus!
Read on to learn more about how to recognise and play a part in removing the barriers to gender equality that still exist today.
Get Involved with SOAS Climate Justice
Follow @soasclimatejustice, they focus on the intersection between environmentalism and social justice and often collaborate with other societies. They’ve organized a Common Ground Garden near Dinwiddy, climate change film screenings, clothes swaps and discussions.
Attend SOAS Feminist Society’s Events
SOAS Feminist Society holds regular discussions about issues women still face, such as period poverty. They’ve also organised film screenings, games nights, quizzes and other interesting events. Follow them on Instagram @soasfeministsociety to keep yourself updated. They’re holding a book trade on March 11th to celebrate women in literature, with the encouragement to dress up as one.
Visit the Feminist Library
The Feminist Library is a charity library in South East London that was founded by women in 1975. It has a collection of both fiction and non-fiction, and occasionally hosts events and feminist book club meetings. Their exhibition for this month celebrates women’s textile art!
Or the SOAS library
If you don’t feel like trekking all the way to SE London there are plenty of books about gender and climate change, including ones with localized knowledge, that you can read without leaving SOAS. The SOAS Library has both e-books and books about the effects of climate change on women and building a sustainable gender-equal future. If you need ideas, take a look at this great reading list published by the SOAS Feminist Economics Net Instagram (@femeconnnetnetwork) about ecofeminism, a movement that encompasses solutions to the issues highlighted in this year’s International Women’s Day.
Get Wowed by WOW & Support Female-Owned Sustainable Businesses
The WOW Foundation is hosting an International Women’s Day festival this weekend (11th-13th of March) at the Southbank Centre with a series of in-person and online talks and interactive workshops by notable women. Quite a few of their interesting events focus on intersectionality, such a talk by Angela Davis about her activism, one by Bernardine Evaristo about Black women writers, and a feminist poetry reading by Warsan Shire.
While you’re there, you can also visit the WOW marketplace! The theme is “Women of the World” and it showcases women and non-binary led businesses.
Agustina Villalba is a Digital Ambassador currently studying for a BA in Social Anthropology.