Gender and equality barriers need to be broken down and all members of society can contribute towards that. Those in government or positions of influence can also drive those changes. In marking International Women’s Day and this year’s theme of “Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow” the GSD calls for greater efforts to break down barriers to women’s participation in important fields.
Joelle Ladislaus of the GSD Executive said: “With the world in the grip of a climate emergency it has become more important than ever to break the gender bias that is still very much a reality in this day and age. For a long time, women have led the charge towards a more sustainable future. However, because women still have unequal decision-making powers and low representation in society’s leadership roles, women are not always given the platform we deserve to implement the necessary changes. It becomes a grave hindrance and a disservice to the development of society when many women face difficulties of gender inequality.
Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes often have the effect of discouraging women from fields, such as the sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics, where they could make a significant impact in the fight for scientific, organizational, and cultural sustainability.
Yet, even against that backdrop, there are women and girls who continue to break that gender bias that is so ingrained in many societies. The past years have seen some of the highest profile climate campaigners breaking onto the international scene, and most of those have been women and girls. Who could ever forget Greta Thunberg’s challenges to world leaders to take immediate action to combat the effect of climate change. Her activism begun at home where she persuaded her parents to make lifestyle choices to reduce their family’s carbon footprint, but her tenacity and her ability to build bridges across the eco gender gap has meant that her message and her relentless drive are impacting globally. Locally, the GibSchool Strike for Climate Change in 2019 was organized by 13-year-old female activist, Iona Sacarello, who demonstrated initiative and leadership in representing her peers in calling the Government to action.
Women and girls are standing up to be counted and the message is clear, the biggest global impact on the sustainability agenda will be had once we can achieve the aims of breaking the gender bias, and that begins at home. It is driven by equal opportunities in education and employment; with shifts in daily attitudes as to the role that women are expected to play within society. To engender a little girl with the belief that she is equal to her male counterparts, and to provide her with the same opportunities and platform to achieve is the key to break the bias.”