Zonta Says NOW to gender-equal climate action

There are two significant threats to women achieving their full potential: violence and climate change. Through Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women, Zontians are very familiar with how violence and power imbalances can impact women’s safety and careers; they may not be as familiar with how climate change magnifies gender inequality.

Around the world, millions of people have already lost their homes and livelihoods due to extreme weather events caused by climate change. Most of them are women.

When extreme heat, drought, fires, storms, floods, and sea-level rise disrupt lives and livelihoods, women are less likely than men to recover. Why? Because systemic gender inequality has led to women having fewer resources and choices than men.

With each climate-related disaster, women fall farther behind men. Women are less able to rebuild their lives due to the widening gender gaps in education, pay, legal rights, leadership, and societal responses to climate change.

Globally, most of those affected by poverty and lack of literacy are women; they are often in casual or part-time work and, in many countries, are not allowed to own land, get a loan, sign a contract, or open a bank account. During climate-related disasters, women are more likely to be injured or killed, lose their job, or be forced into slavery or prostitution to survive. Girls are at high risk of being forced to leave school or marry early.

Pandemics and conflicts compound the situation.

Zonta International’s Statement on Climate Change: A Gender Equality Issue highlights the importance of educating girls, having more women in parliament, and closing gender gaps in economic participation and responses to climate change. This biennium, we will put the Statement on Climate Change into action by:

  • Embedding climate actions into our service projects;
  • Showing how behavior in one part of the world impacts another; and
  • Supporting clubs to educate and raise their voices about gender-equal climate action.

Zonta Says NOW to Gender-Equal Climate Action shows us how to implement the Statement on Climate Change locally, nationally and internationally.

How does Zonta Says NOW relate to Zonta’s activities on gender equality and ending violence against women?

To achieve its Vision, Zonta works to achieve gender equality and eliminate violence against women. However, the impacts of climate change are making it increasingly difficult to achieve these goals. To achieve gender-equal climate justice, Zonta Says NOW amplifies Zonta’s gender equality activities, and the Zonta Says NO campaign. Gender equality, climate justice and eliminating violence against women and girls are intrinsically linked as shown in the diagram below.


If you would like to know more about Zonta Says NOW, please contact Carole Theobald, Chair of the Zonta Says NOW Working Group, at [email protected].

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