After millions took to the streets last month in protest of the climate crisis, the world was buzzing with stories of (young) women leaders taking the helm of the climate movement. The extraordinary voices of Greta Thurberg and Jamie Margolin were given a deserving platform to express the urgent need for climate action.
In the years following the historic Women’s March in 2017, we’ve seen this movement building. Greta and Jamie are the clearest example yet of how powerful activism by women leaders, unprecedented numbers of women running for Congress and an impact generation of youth leaders with an agenda are the recipe for a new direction.
Let me be clear: This momentum is not the beginning. It may not have been featured daily, but the work for environmental protection and women’s rights has been leading the way for decades, if not centuries. If history has taught us anything, these women will continue to lead the country—and the world—forward.
And yet, we are inarguably at a breakthrough moment. The climate crisis regularly polls as a leading concern for voters and further attention has been focused on the prospect of a progressive and sweeping Green New Deal resolution as the solution.
The climate movement is full of hope, energy and a growing powerful platform. As a result, the women’s rights and environmental movements are coming together to take further action.
In response to the September United Nations Climate Summit, climate justice and women’s rights activists have set new, additional demands for Green New Deal policies and programs—elevating these intricately and inherently intertwined issues. We understand that climate intersects with all other forms of justice: migrant justice, racial justice, economic justice, labor justice, reproductive justice and gender justice. Thus, any radical, institutional changes to how we address climate inherently entail overhauling our current system of oppression and creating inclusive policies that encompass every aspect of justice.
This Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal outlines 10 principles meant to weave together this intersection. The principles include a call for intersectional gender analysis, an end to institutional patriarchy and racism, centering Indigenous’ Peoples rights and leadership, advancing reproductive justice and respecting the leadership of young people as they fight for their futures.
These principles provide the foundation for forthcoming policy recommendations. Climate and gender activists alike must continue to amplify the platform of the Feminist Green New Deal and use gender and humanitarian concerns to guide our response to the climate crisis. This coalition is looking forward to continued collaboration to grow these proposals and welcome more leaders into the fold.
Together, the coalition advocating for the Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal—including the Sierra Club, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization, the NAACP, MADRE, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, among others—is seeking to ensure that climate justice, gender justice and human and indigenous rights are at the core of all policies and programs brought forth in the Green New Deal.
Our groups collectively represent millions of people across the country who are committed to working toward these bold solutions; solutions that will ensure that all people along the gender spectrum, particularly women and LGBTGI+ people, are both involved in making decisions about their futures and are at the center of those solutions.
We call upon feminists to join the cause for climate justice and for the climate movement to consider the disproportionate and differentiated impact climate change is already placing on women globally, particularly women of color and those in underrepresented communities. No one should fear for their reproductive health and personal safety in the face of the climate crisis and rampant pollution because of their identity, particularly when these environmental issues are ones they have not created.
In order for a Green New Deal to be a success, there must be representation at the decision-making tables locally by Indigenous Peoples, people of color and people along the gender spectrum. We must live the values of reciprocal solidarity with our sisters across the globe.
As the Green New Deal continues to be built out, we must continue to ensure policies such as paid family leave and other gender-related concerns —both central to tackling inequality and the climate crisis—are incorporated.