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Amplifying women's voices on climate action: the importance of womens' leadership

Wednesday 6 - Friday 8 September 2023 | WP3297

  • “The leadership chasm still exists – for faith communities, and women”

The event emphasised the imperative for greater inclusivity and empowerment of women. Women tend to be more acutely aware of the impacts posed by climate challenges and are often more engaged in processes related to healing, caregiving, and emotional support. Providing women with decision-making power is essential to achieving our climate action objectives. Women play a central role in guiding households, communities, as well as working at the local, regional and international level.

  • Mainstreaming of women and female involvement is essential – not merely “women groups” or “women’s committees”, but women need to be given a seat at the table and included at decision-making levels

The special values and styles embodied in women’s leadership were affirmed in the discussions “People in this room know how to get things done and are not afraid to speak the language of love, kinship and common concern. The change we want to see is already visible in this room.”

Five women stand in the gardens at Wilton Park, smiling as they take tea.

Participants stressed the need to be attentive to the kind of leadership that was necessary, differentiating between leadership and decision-making power. Attention also needed to be paid to alternative forms of women’s leadership, possibly with a seat at a different table of decision making. It was suggested that having targets for the inclusion of women, as in the Global Biodiversity Framework, might be one strategy in harnessing the power of women and their leadership, given women have so few high-level leadership roles in religious organisations. For others, there was a need to redefine leadership as the leadership of listening and the function of leadership to give hope and inspiration, putting community, compassion and inclusivity at the heart of all we do. And for others, leadership centred around challenging the traditional patriarchal leadership that exists in many faith structures and institutions.

  • “We don’t want women of faith to be the handmaidens of patriarchal privilege.”

  • “The change we want is already here among us.”

  • “Let us not be bound by the tyranny of the tangible.”


Key points


Alignment of women’s leadership with cross cutting themes and climate related efforts

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