The Power of School: Improve Lives & Climate Change

5 minute read

Updated on: 13 Nov 2020

Empowering women and girls is key to building a better future - in terms of both society and the environment.

There are so many ways in which women can help fight the climate crisis, we just don’t have time to cover them all here. In this chapter we’re going to look at just two ways that gender equality could help solve climate change: improving equality in education and climate leadership.

Image of Modern contraception around the world

Modern contraception around the world

Education & family planning

Family planning is about helping people to choose if they want children, how many they want, and when they want to have them .

In the developing world, 225 million women from low income countries say that they want to choose if and when they become pregnant, but they can’t because they can’t access contraception .

Image of Modern contraception around the world

Modern contraception around the world

The solution is to ensure everyone has equal access to contraceptives.

With widespread contraception, women tend to desire smaller families and have fewer children , which can reduce global emissions .

Increasing family planning helps meet individual women’s needs while also slowing global population growth .

Education

Educated women have better career prospects and often choose to use family planning methods to delay having children, allowing them to pursue their careers .

Furthermore, with better education women can make better health choices for themselves and their children. This leads to lower child death rates . As death rates fall, women tend to have fewer children as they no longer expect to lose their children early in life . Women might also choose to leave longer gaps between births .

Image of More education means less children

More education means less children

Educating girls and making sure everyone has access to contraceptives gives women power over their lives and bodies . Through empowering women, education and family planning services also benefits the environment .

Family planning and girls’ education together could reduce global emissions by 85.4Gt CO2e by 2050 . That’s over 1.5 times the total emissions produced in 2018 ! .

Girls’ education is also a surprisingly cheap way of fighting climate change !

Image of Educating women can be an effective way to reduce emissions

Educating women can be an effective way to reduce emissions

As shown by the plot below, girls’ education is cheaper than all these emissions reduction strategies except adding insulation to buildings .

Image of One of the cheapest ways to fight climate change!

One of the cheapest ways to fight climate change!

Family planning also costs 90-95% less than carbon capture per tonne of CO2 saved !

Women as Climate Leaders

Globally, power is not shared equally between genders . In 2019, only 24.5% of all countries’ politicians were women .

At the highest levels of political power, there is an even larger gender gap .

Why does this gender gap exist? Because women face many barriers to political inclusion .

Image of Women face many barriers to enter politics

Women face many barriers to enter politics

To combat climate change, we need to use the knowledge and skills of both men and women !

So, is including women in decision-making and leadership already helping the environment? Yes ! Here are just a few examples…

Image of women can make great leaders!

women can make great leaders!

Empowering women as decision makers and international leaders will help fight climate change and improve the lives of people everywhere !

Conclusion

Through empowering girls and women we can build the future we want for humanity. In this future, people of all genders have the power to make choices and have access to the resources they need to live healthy, sustainable and fulfilling lives. And, in achieving this world, we may even stop climate change too.

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