This post was written by Cheri Cornell, the executive director of Cool Mom:
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #PledgeforParity. The idea is simple: each of us should take a step to help achieve gender parity more quickly—whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures, root out workplace bias…or call for gender-balanced leadership.
Hey, how about some gender-balanced leadership in climate action? (Tweet this) Don’t get me wrong; climate and nonprofit groups represent some of the most progressive humans around when it comes to gender parity, but much work remains, especially at the highest levels of leadership. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Here’s another reason for women to claim greater leadership in the climate world: women may be the most important resource in our efforts to fight climate change. First, women make 80% of consumer choices, hopefully low-carbon choices that matter in our efforts to reclaim a healthy climate. In addition, women vote in greater numbers than men and can therefore accelerate the move to robust climate policy.
Most important, 80% of women will become mothers by the time they reach 40. There is nothing like motherhood to make global warming move from the esoteric to the painfully real. For moms like me, climate action is a moral imperative.
Here’s the thing. When you’re talking climate, the call for gender equity naturally leads to a call for intergenerational equity. As women and mothers, we are worried about what we are doing to our children now and for years and generations to come.
Intergenerational equity means that humans hold the natural environment of the Earth in common both with other members of the present generation and with other generations, past and future.
If we don’t stop the Earth’s warming right now, we adults are engaging in the opposite of intergenerational equity — we’re engaged in generational theft! The mothers I work with at CoolMom, Climate Solutions, and the rest of the climate justice movement won’t be part of stealing from our children. We’ll have none of it!
So, on International Women’s Day, let’s all take the #PledgeforParity — gender and intergenerational parity. I pledge to work within the climate movement to elevate women to leadership positions and, in the process, honor our children, the next generation, with their fair share of a healthy climate.
Cheri Cornell is the Executive Director of CoolMom.org. CoolMom works with moms and families to reduce their own carbon footprints, then helps them to advocate for robust climate policy at all levels of government.
Drawing: Liza Donnelly