International Women's Day: Climate Change & Women's Rights
As Beyonce once famously said, “Who run the world? Girls.” Despite unnecessary gender disparities, prevalent ones being the wage gap, the pink tax, and a lack of educational opportunities, women prevail in finding ways to succeed. International Women’s Day honors just that: a celebration of the women who overcome gender-based obstacles and lead the way for younger generations. With this celebration, the steps toward further success should also be acknowledged, as the movement toward equality proves far from over. Moreover, discussion regarding gender equality, specifically in the education sector, finds intersection with other movements, such as the battle against climate change.
According to Hawken’s Drawdown, improving the educational opportunities for women could potentially reduce 59.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Hawken addresses intergenerational poverty and education: a lack of education tends to correlate with a larger family size and higher rates of poverty. In contrast, women who have the opportunity to receive a higher education are likely to experience social mobility. One of the apparent benefits is an improved lifestyle with more access to sustainable resources. In low-income countries for instance, Hawken suggests that education for women could lead to sustainable agricultural practices. Outside of helping their communities, though, women can better focus on their interests, whether it be their career, childcare, or more. Women have freedom. Having freedom, regardless of gender, acts as a foundation to fostering solutions for any issue.
However, despite the seemingly never ending benefits, women have empirically been denied from educational opportunities presented to their male counterparts. Communities that purport a solely maternal lifestyle for women hinder economic success, so when budget cuts are made to the education sector, women are the ones that suffer. Paired with a lack of accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and other regular occurrences, change proves difficult to pursue.
While there are various obstacles to overcome, there are also various solutions to implement. Hawken outlines seven potential reforms: making school affordable; improving healthcare; providing accessible transportation; offering accommodations for both mothers and female students; improving the quality of school systems; increasing community engagement; and making education accessible in emergency situations.
Written by Amy Choi