International Women's Day 2024

by CCAC Secretariat - 8 March, 2024
Today we recognise and promoting the role of women in combatting climate change and air pollution.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is delighted to share a range of updates and inspiring stories on the positive impact of women in climate and clean air action. Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change as well as indoor air pollution - at higher risk of health impacts, food insecurity, and loss of livelihood. 

Women are also critical agents of change in implementing sustainable solutions – with enormous potential to be unlocked across the world. This International Women's Day we showcase the work of women across the CCAC’s network, with stories from both our leadership and our partners on the ground. 

A Message From Martina Otto - Head of The CCAC Secretariat

Women are on the front lines of the climate and air pollution crises, playing crucial roles in tackling emissions of super pollutants across the globe. In high-emitting sectors such as agriculture, women can comprise up to 40% of the labour force in developing countries. While in household energy and the waste sector, women often serve as household decision makers and community leaders. Despite this opportunity, women are often excluded from capacity development and decision-making activities.

Unlocking the potential of women across the global requires large scale investment in human capital. We must ensure that gender-based barriers to participation in training, policy development, and implementation are removed – and that targeted actions address root causes of inequality. We need to make smart investments with multiple benefits, to make good on climate commitments as well as development goals, and make sure that every dollar invested in climate is also advancing gender equality in some way. 

Development assistance flows show record high volumes of support being dedicated to climate action and to gender equality – but these challenges are being addressed separately, with only 2.4% of all climate assistance integrating gender equality as a principal objective. We need a paradigm shift to show that investments in climate and air quality are also an investment in gender equality, to empower women as agents of change in local economies and communities.

Since launching the CCAC Gender Strategy at COP27, the partnership has made significant strides in championing gender equality. We have made gender mainstreaming a criteria for CCAC funding - targeting policies, regulations, and capacity building initiatives that support safe and stable livelihoods for both women and men. We have achieved gender parity on our Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), ensuring women’s minds and voices are underpinning our efforts – and we have begun to build a community of practice on gender-responsive SLCP action through a targeted new series in CCAC Hubs. These first steps bring us toward a more sustainable, healthy future for everyone – and I look forward to what is to come in the year ahead.


Video Message From Martina Otto - Head of the CCAC Secretariat - International Women's Day 2024
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Women Are Leading The Fight Against Climate Change, But Are They Being Empowered Enough? 

As we observe International Women's Day, it is imperative to acknowledge and celebrate the pivotal role that women play in combating climate change. The article in Forbes sheds light on the significant contributions of women in spearheading climate and environmental initiatives. It emphasises the pressing need to further empower women in this crucial endeavour.

Martina Otto, Head of the CCAC Secretariat underscores the importance of women's involvement: 'Who better would know some of the pressure points and enable different ways of doing business?". She further emphasizes the necessity of women's central role in climate action: 'So, why must women be at the heart of climate action? Because we won’t succeed without them.'"

Rachel Kyte, CCAC High-Level Advocate for Finance and Professor of Practice in Climate Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford highlights the frontline role of women in climate action: "Women are at the forefront of climate action as farmers, businesswomen, healthcare workers, and heads of households worldwide. Investing in their continued resilience will be crucial as we adapt to the climate impacts we are already experiencing".

Read the article here.

Celebrating the CCAC's Women in Science

The participation of women in science and technology leads to more creative solutions, and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Read about some of the women of the CCAC who - through their work as world-leading scientists - are driving inclusive climate and clean air action here.

CCAC Gender Strategy Launched at COP27

The CCAC's Gender Strategy recognises the disproportionate impact of climate change and air pollution on women and girls and puts them at the core of solutions. The strategy was launched at the CCAC Ministerial at COP27, and can be downloaded here. Read the full story on our Gender Strategy here.

New Framework for Gender-Responsive Livestock Development

On 22 February 2024 the new 'Framework for Gender-Responsive Livestock Development– Building a world free from hunger, malnutrition, poverty and inequality' was launched at the Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024, held in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The framework was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank to support the planning and implementation of gender-responsive policies, projects and investments and orient research related to the development of the livestock sector. 

Read more the press release on the framework here.

Investing in Women Benefits People and the Planet

Around the world, women and girls, especially those living in rural areas, are often responsible for managing resources and running households. They are also particularly vulnerable to climate shocks. Women and girls bear the brunt of providing drinking, cooking, and sanitation water for their families. And globally, 60% of all premature deaths from household air pollution are women and children.

As we continue to face threats from the triple planetary crisis, alongside economic inequality, the concept of a care society is emerging as an alternative to the current economic and development model based on the extraction and exploitation of natural resources, fossil fuels, and human lives. It emphasises the crucial role of both caring for people and the planet. Recognising the irreplaceable value of care is essential, as is addressing the unequal care burden that women and girls currently bear, and increasingly so amid the climate emergency. The provision of care should be a shared responsibility involving the state, markets, communities, and families.

Read more about women's roles in the care society here.

Sector Focus: Women as waste pickers
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Women in Climate and Clean Air Action


In 2023, Rachel Kyte joined the CCAC as a High-Level Advocate for Finance.  Rachel has previously served as World Bank's Vice President for Sustainable Development and is Co-Chair of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), Advisor to Beyond Net Zero at General Atlantic and member of G20 Independent Expert Group on Multilateral Development Bank reform, among other roles.

Read our Q+A with Rachel on climate finance here.

In December 2023, Clean Air Catalyst’s Indore team organised a gender empowerment and training workshop to highlight the ways that women and girls are uniquely impacted by air quality and to generate ideas for how proposed policy solutions can better combat gender disparities in air pollution exposure.

Read the summary of the workshop here and a story on Clean Air Catalyst's focus on women and clean air here.

Black Soldier Flies (BSF) are one of the most effective ways to valorise organic waste and reduce SLCPs. One commercial product of BSF technology – high-protein animal feed – is being used by women farming entrepreneurs in Kenya to replace expensive and unsustainable feed sources.

Read the full story here.

The refrigeration and air condition sectors are traditionally male-dominated, but in Chile, the Ozone Unit of the Ministry of the Environment is leading the effort to reduce gender gaps, and promote female participation through initiatives, training, and projects.

Read more here.