The report also highlights how traditional approaches to funding and scaling women-led solutions may not work due to systemic challenges facing women, ranging from unequal access to resources and education to lack of mentorship and empowerment. Women remain unrepresented in capital allocation positions, which is a vital component in how companies, governments, and individuals approach solutions to tackle climate risks.
According to the report, women also generally earn less than men and claim fewer benefits during their lifetimes; a situation that will only worsen as climate change increases health vulnerabilities.
“Unless addressed, this will mean increased risk for women, their families, and their communities,” Slodounik said.
Studies have shown that women leaders play a critical role in the global workforce by helping to promote diversity, equality, and a more balanced approach to employees’ work and personal lives. But while women have been advancing towards employment equity in recent years, they’ve lost momentum amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by McKinsey, women accounted for 54 percent of overall job losses during the pandemic, despite only making up 39 percent of global employment. This disparity can be attributed in part to women on average earning less than men and the additional caretaking and household responsibilities that tend to be held by women.
While women in low-income countries are subject to higher climate vulnerability, climate gender equity disparities persist globally. As the United States celebrates the Inflation Reduction Act as a climate victory, it does so without key provisions to improve the resilience of women and children—namely universal pre-kindergarten, lower childcare costs, paid family and sick leave and the enhanced child tax credit. Benefits focused on enhancing gender equity have been routinely cut from proposed legislation.
“Diversity at the top of the value chain will only help in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” Slodounik said.
Turning Results into Progress
“The report findings illustrate that gender equity is not just “good to have” but is in fact “a must have” to accelerate equitable climate action,” said Wasley, adding that the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made the urgency for climate action “extremely clear.”
According to Wasley, the next step is to leverage the research gathered and the TECFD framework developed to better understand WSP Global’s baseline for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the context of climate action.
“With this baseline, we will be able to improve and accelerate our company’s social equity and climate action,” Wasley said.
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