March is Women’s History Month, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day, and the theme for 2022 is the quote above: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Globally, women and girls, especially those in marginalized and impoverished communities, are feeling the effects of climate change more directly and profoundly than others. Since women are most often responsible for tending to domestic issues like food and water procurement, cooking and nutrition, collecting fuel sources and maintaining gardens, when climate disaster strikes their communities, these necessary tasks become more difficult and time consuming, leaving women farther behind in terms of education, resources and decision-making power.
At the same time, because women feel these impacts so strongly, they often respond to these challenges by becoming leaders in their communities, spearheading the fight to maintain those communities and rally their neighbors to come up with innovative solutions to address these dire problems.
Furthermore, those who do have the opportunity to advance their educations and develop professionally often dedicate their careers to supporting those who lack those opportunities, sometimes in the communities where they grew up. At the Columbia Climate School and in the broader Columbia University community, women are leading the way in the fields of climate science and adaptation, and working to promote equity, sustainability and resilience around the world.
Follow the links to learn more about these women from the Columbia Climate School:
- Linda Fried: From Redefining Aging to Spearheading Research on Climate and Health. Fried helped establish the nation’s first program in a school of public health that delves into the complexities of climate change’s health impacts, and she continues to be a leader in the field.
- Ground-truthing With Yohana Tesfamariam Tekeste. Tesfamariam Tekeste helps farmers reduce their vulnerability to climate change. She tells us about her work, as well as some hard truths about why those vulnerabilities exist in the first place.
- Faye McNeill Combats Air Pollution, From the Molecular to the Global Scale. The first woman to earn tenure in Columbia’s chemical engineering department, McNeill is working for cleaner air in developing countries.
- Learning From Tree Rings: An Interview With Nicole Davi. A dendrochronologist explains how tree rings can teach us about our past, present, and future.
- Q&A With Haein Shin on Advancing Educational Equity. Shin develops educational content that empowers learners to contribute to building a more inclusive and sustainable future.
- Thalia Balkaran: Working to Protect Children in the Caribbean From Disasters. Balkaran is helping communities in the Caribbean to develop disaster preparedness plans that focus on some of their most vulnerable residents: children.