Girls’ education, gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to tackling climate change.
But what does this actually look like, you may ask. And how do we walk the talk? Well, let us share some pretty mind-blowing insights with you, and how we’re taking action today!
Researchers from all around the world agree that improving access to ‘quality education’ for girls is ‘one of the most powerful yet underused strategies' to tackle climate change.
Based on this research, data analysts SAS have made some pretty chilling predictions. One of which anticipates that in 2021, at least 4 million girls from low and lower-middle-income countries will be out of school due to climate-related events. And by 2025, this number will jump to 12.5 million girls out of school because of climate change.
We must act now because that’s the right thing to do.
This means that young women and girls living in low-income countries (like Sierra Leone and Uganda), who are the LEAST responsible for the current climate crisis, face an unbelievably bleak future in the climate-affected world. We need to invest in their future – for their sake, and for the sake of our planet.
We’ve been busy over at One Girl HQ, going through all the latest research to build a formula for tackling climate change, and creating a better future for all - one that is sustainable, safe and equitable.
“Educating girls is one of the most effective but overlooked ways to mitigate against climate change"
– Brookings Institution
Women are the stewards of natural resources.
Young women, and girls who are born to an educated mother, can play a key role in preparing for and working to prevent climate disasters. Educated women are more able to think critically, lead and make decisions that will inevitably benefit everyone – their families, communities and nations.
Just look at the inspiring young women leading the global climate action movement today - Vanessa Nakate, Tokata Iron Eyes, Lauren Ritchie, Carmela Ellaga, and of course, Greta Thunberg are some of the few we can think of on the spot!
Women have historically been the ‘managers’ of their households, undertaking tasks such as collecting water and firewood. In many parts of the world, women are often in charge of subsistence farming to provide food for their households. With this level of responsibility, women play a critical role in understanding and reacting to changes in the natural environment.
When a woman is educated, she is more likely to make both pro-environment choices and decisions that promote sustainable conservation and protection methods. Women are already leading the way in areas such climate-smart farming and renewable energy adoption – so let's help more women get involved!
Girls’ education + women’s empowerment + gender equality = climate innovation!
Globally, there are 132 million girls out of school.
Educating these girls can change the world!
We have a solution! And it’s fabulous.
It makes so much sense, and the more people we can get on board, the greater the impact we can all have.
The solution is simple – education.
When girls are equipped with holistic skills, such as STEM education and critical thinking skills; and are empowered to exercise their rights and stand up for themselves, they are able to contribute towards innovative climate change solutions and adaptation strategies.
Project Drawdown ranks educating girls as the sixth most powerful solution, and when combined with improving access to quality reproductive healthcare and women's economic empowerment — investing in women and girls becomes the number one solution.
If every girl were to go to school, learn about and exercise her sexual and reproductive health and rights, and have access to modern contraceptives, The World Bank estimates that we could reduce global emissions from fossil fuels by 37 - 41% by the end of the century. There’s also research (check our reference list below) that suggests educated women choose to have fewer children. The World Health Organisation says that meeting women’s existing demand for contraception could help avert 67 million unintended pregnancies, improve women’s health and keep girls in school for longer. Whoah!
AND, access to gender-equal education for girls (ie. an education that is the same for both girls and boys, and which promotes equal values, structures, and relations to power) could improve the strategies, technologies, and adaptation efforts of the world: making us smarter, stronger and more resilient.
So what are you waiting for?
Support our work at One Girl to secure a smarter, safer and more equitable future for us all.
Women and girls simultaneously stand to lose the most due to climate change impacts while contributing the most towards climate change solutions.
Download our handy factsheet full of climate-related info, to help provide context and understanding on how education is the most wonderful (and practicial) solution to tackling climate change.
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The One Girl community dreams passionately of a new world...
A climate-just and gender-equal world where every girl can:
- Achieve her potential and goals using the transformative power of education
- Exercise her rights over her body, be safe and access quality reproductive healthcare
- Choose to contribute towards a sustainable future through climate-smart ideas and fulfilling careers
Fry & P. Lei, A greener, fairer future: Why leaders need to invest in climate and girls’ education, The Malala Fund, March 2021.
U & E Nsentip, The role of girls' education in fighting climate change, Assembly, The Malala Fund, 2 March 2021.
United Nations, SDGs Report: Sustainable Development Goal 12. 2019.
Brookings Institution, UNICEF and Plan International, Girls’ education in climate strategies: Opportunities for improved policy and enhanced action in Nationally Determined Contributions. 2019.
B C. O'Neill, M Dalton, R Fuchs, L Jiang, S Pachauri, K Zigova, Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions, PNAS October 12, 2010 107 (41) 17521-17526; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.
Andrijevic, M., Cuaresma, J.C., Lissner, T., Adelle, T. and Schleussner C.-F. Overcoming gender inequality for climate resilient development. 2020.
Center for Universal Education at Brookings, A new green learning agenda: Approaches to quality education for climate action. 2021.
World Bank, Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of not Educating Girls. 2018.
World Bank, Female Education and Childbearing: A Closer Look at the Data. 2015.
The World Bank, Adaptation to Climate Extremes in DevelopingCountries: The Role of Education, 2010
World Health Organization, Contraception: Evidence brief. 2019.
Project Drawdown, Health and Education. 2014.
WECAN, Why Women?