Women’s leadership accelerates climate action, enhances gender diversity and social inclusion. Here’s how diversity fosters resilience and sustainability in the face of a changing climate.

As the climate crisis has intensified, it has become clear that enhanced diversity can speed up climate action and that well-designed climate solutions can promote social inclusion.

Women’s leadership and greater diversity in politics, business and finance is crucial to accelerating climate action. Gender diversity helps build resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities.

Boosting the role of women in climate action

The goals of increased diversity and climate action are interconnected. More gender diversity on corporate boards is correlated with increased climate and innovation performance according to Bloomberg.

Women-owned businesses are more likely to pursue greater energy efficiency, and research also shows that female leaders are more likely to support climate action and sustainability.

Perhaps it is no surprise that the world’s most sustainable cities are led by female mayors. Yet gender diversity on boards and in leadership teams in important sectors such as renewable energy is still lagging behind.

In February 2024, the European Investment Bank Group launched the Women Climate Leaders Network, aiming to leverage women’s private sector leadership in climate action and environmental sustainability.

Women bearing the brunt of climate impacts

At the same time as women leaders are accelerating climate action, in many contexts, women are disproportionately affected by climate change. Why?

They do not have the same access to resources, financial independence and educational opportunities to be prepared and effectively adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. 

In developing countries, women manage both natural resources and food security while being the primary caregivers.

Equalising access to resources in for example the agriculture sector would see a gain of up to 4% in agricultural productivity — enhancing global food security and helping manage our soils, lands and natural resources more sustainably.

In the aftermath of extreme weather events and natural disasters, countries report an increase in violence against women while girls tend to be pulled out of school to help their families recover from such events.  

Addressing the climate crisis with a gender-responsive approach ensures that the benefits of climate policies and programmes are distributed equitably, contributing to a more just and sustainable society.

Women’s leadership and integrating gender considerations into climate strategies enhances the effectiveness and long-term success of initiatives addressing the impacts of the climate crisis.