On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, participants joined from locations around the globe to engage in a lively discussion around the theme: ‘The Many Faces of Gender, Women and the Environment’. We appreciate all our participants and speakers for their knowledge, insights and shared-experiences.
We were excited to have with us a in this our second webinar in the series - Peggy Antrobus, Social Justice Activist and member of the Caribbean Feminist Action Network (CFAN) based in Barbados, Ronald Cumberbatch, an International Development Consultant based in Guyana, and Silvia Gurrola, Gender-based Violence Consultant, based in Norway but originally from Mexico. Also joining the webinar as listeners were current UN staff, former UN staff, fisherfolk, community organizers and more.
In focus for webinar 2 were:
* How are we ensuring that gender equality is a lived experience in society and in development work?
* How do we build a resilient spirit in the face of many challenges of inequality?
* What are examples of stories that inspire us and build us up?
Our speakers and participants unpacked several structural, societal, traditional/cultural norms and practices have affected the empowerment of women and how we work toward the goal of equality in natural resources and environmental management. One of these is that we often treat women and the environment the same – as something to be exploited and something instrumental to a larger goal. Neither equality nor sustainability is always a lived experience where what is built into a constitution is translated into people’s lives.
We discussed in depth, issues of insurance becoming more topical in the context of disaster and climate risk relief and making sure stakeholders have real access and not just theoretical access, taking into consideration particular gender barriers in their political, socio-economic or environmental context. We discussed the various stigmas that can exist against particular vulnerable groups and the notion of ‘How do we look at gender as more than just an ‘ad-on’ measure?’ Are we able to address the existing social and cultural norms that prevent access to finance or gender equality in other realms?
Women’s lived experiences in developed and developing countries play a large part in how they contribute to society and build resilience, suggesting that we need to pay attention to where differing and intersecting inequalities can overlap. Women have a significant role to play and can shed insightful input on developments moving forward in terms of access to finance and technology, for example, in ways that help to shape resilience in a way that is more flexible and accessible to more people.
Women as activists, as bankers as well as investors! Getting at the root of some of these challenges involves changing power relations which first includes a change of the perceptions of the value of women, their role in the environment and the value of the environment as well. The value of the environment, not just as an economic resource but also as a social and ecological one. When we do this, everyone benefits not just women. Lessons from Grenada, Guyana, Liberia and Dominica show that when we do this well, we have made progress on our gender equality journey.
Our next webinar will focus on the theme: Gender and Water – ‘Too Little or Too Much’. Stay tuned to the website and social media for the date and more details on our third SAEDI Conversations webinar in the series.
This “special focus webinar” on water is timely as we enter the hurricane season in the Caribbean, winter in some parts of the world and summer in other parts of our shared planet. Water is an all-seasons topic!