As the College celebrated International Women’s Day last week, the message I most often heard was "we must be sure these important and urgent issues are not just for one day, but every day."
How true: if we don't challenge gender biases, if we don't create spaces and places to come together to discuss sustainable futures, we are not honouring our commitment to equity in our community. On panels, we talked a lot about the impact and importance of women being at the table where decisions are made, and the likely negative impact where they are not.
Know your worth was another key message, and the importance of confidence in occupying the space you want to be in. Of not accepting stereotyping of career choices, and ensuring that sponsors and role models support and guide the next generation.
On #IWD2022 itself, it was truly inspiring to host the President's Panel where we had a lively discussion about advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction as one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. The issues of climate change and sustainability have had and will continue to have, severe and lasting impacts on our environment, economic and social development, with those who are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised experiencing the deepest impacts. Women are recognised as more vulnerable to climate change impacts, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 is just one source that confirms this vulnerability has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.
Activity throughout the week honoured women and girls as effective and powerful leaders and change-makers. Continuing to empower women and girls with opportunities, while tackling the constraints on their equal participation, in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.
A huge shout out and thanks to Jolene Lum (Temasek), Kanak Muchal (Daughters of Tomorrow), Shailey Hingorani (AWARE), Mia Eskelund (Amala), and our Grade 12 scholar Andreia, my co-host for the dialogue - I learned so much from you.