The Mabini Dialogue titled “Commanding the Wind: Women as Central Figures in the Fight Against Climate Change” brought together experts to examine and share their thoughts on the critical role of women in countering climate change and working towards a sustainable future. The event was jointly organized by the Foreign Service Institute and the US Embassy in the Philippines on 09 June 2022 via Zoom.
Aubrey R. Paris, Ph.D., a policy advisor at the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the United States Department of State, highlighted the evermore important task of addressing the gender-climate nexus and shared the benefits of the newly mandated US National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality in tackling the global existential threat.
Paris emphasized the need to recognize and incorporate women leadership and advocacy movements and initiatives beyond government and decision-making bodies. She outlined the government’s role of “connecting the dots”—identifying and reaching out to niche women-led communities, spotlighting and providing a platform for their messages, and implementing new policies and measures.
Climate Change Commission Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera underlined the need to identify and provide aid to groups and sectors most affected by climate change, highlighting data on the disproportionate effect of climate change on women. She called attention to the continuing challenges faced by women in the agricultural sector amidst natural disasters like gender-based violence, gender bias in leadership roles, and gender discrimination.
Finally, Mr. Naderev Saño, Executive Director of Green Peace Southeast Asia, pointed out that the climate crisis is not just an environmental issue, but a social justice issue as well. He called attention to flawed economic systems that have resulted in economic injustice and inequality. Mr. Sano highlighted that the climate crisis is the result of unjust power relations that have existed throughout history between states, men and women, and between the center and periphery.
The webinar participants came from the DFA home office and foreign service posts, and other government agencies.