young women planting trees and hedgerow in La Gacilly
Hedge planting in La Gacilly – march 2022 © Emmanuel Berthier

Women and the environment: a sustainable commitment

It is vital that women are committed to taking action for the environment. In this article, you will find out more about their contribution to tackling climate change.

Women experience greater exposure to environmental problems, and they are also their main victims. However, they have a vital role to play in protecting the planet. As leaders of sustainable, ecological and often innovative projects, they are at the heart of the fight against the climate crisis. But why are they more vulnerable to global heating? And how have they committed to changing the world to protect nature? Here, we explain the relationship between women and the environment and the contribution they are making.

Women: the main victims of climate change

Vulnerability heightened by inequalities

It is widely accepted that environmental degradation significantly increases inequalities. Internationally, 70% of those living in poverty are women, and they bear the brunt of global heating. This is particularly the case in emerging countries, where women’s difficulty accessing resources and education, limited mobility and lack of rights and decision-making powers render them vulnerable to climate issues.


Whether they are collecting water for cooking or cleaning, managing agricultural work or travelling long distances to find food or firewood, women around the world are more involved than anyone in the daily management of ecosystems and natural resources. Because women are at the forefront of climate change, they inevitably suffer its consequences, including floods, desertification and droughts. The statistics are stark: according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), women are 14 times more likely to die in natural disasters than men.

A voice not often heard in environmental discussions

Women have a considerable role to play in protecting the planet and promoting sustainable development. Because they are often deeply involved in their communities and, often, their own households, they have a strong influence over how natural resources are managed, as well as the ways in which consumption and production can be made more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

However, women are still all too rarely consulted by or a presence in environmental bodies. Although the international community stresses that there can be no sustainable development unless women are enabled to participate fully in discussions, the figures tell a different story. In 2015, women made up just 22% of the executive members of the main international funds tasked with tackling global heating, and at the Conference of Parties 26 (COP26) in Glasgow last November, only 35% of the delegated officials were female.

Because of this under-representation, women’s needs and expectations (in terms of energy and access to natural resources, for example) are all too rarely taken into account. It is undeniable that, were women involved more in decision-making, we would see more environmentally friendly choices made, making us more likely to save the planet.

Women's essential role for the environment

At the heart of the ecological transition

Women are more vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, but they are, first and foremost, the drivers behind changes in our approach to protecting the environment. In developing countries, they often have ancestral knowledge in several different areas. They frequently take on the role of decision-makers – particularly in critical situations – and they do not hesitate to adopt innovative techniques in, for example, agriculture, working hard to find ways to optimise their work while also respecting biodiversity. As such, according to a study by the World Bank, they are more predisposed to implement concrete actions for their communities to tackle climate change.

The issue of gender equality

Environmental destruction’s consequences are amplified by gender inequality. Social and cultural discrimination persists, all too often playing down the importance of women’s work and engendering unequal access to resources, education, nature management and planning bodies, and so on. However, advances in gender equality have a direct positive effect on ecological issues. It is therefore now essential we include women in core strategic discussions if we want to address the climate emergency.

The women who work for the planet

Around the world, many women and girls are organising, mobilising and driving innovative action to protect biodiversity and combat climate change and its consequences. Their key roles and multifaceted skills and responsibilities make them experts in the fight to protect the planet and creators of effective, sustainable solutions, in the mould of dedicated, inspiring female figures such as Wangari Maathai in Kenya, Vandana Shiva in India, and Lamya Essemlali in France.

Terre de Femmes: a world of initiatives

Supporting ambassadors for change

Women’s contribution to and influence over environmentalism is considerable. To promote their efforts and shine a spotlight on courageous, innovative initiatives across the planet, the Yves Rocher Foundation has created the Terre de Femmes Award. Given annually to about 30 women committed to protecting the planet, the Award recognises women who “change the world” through initiatives big and small. Each of these initiatives addresses environmental issues in its own way.

500 winners in 15 partner countries

Since 2001, the Terre de Femmes Award has highlighted the invaluable personal investment made by women dedicated to the planet and others. While there are many different initiatives, they all share the same belief in reinventing the world in a way that respects nature through innovative action. Today, 500 women in 15 partner countries have been recognised for their commitment. Together, these everyday “green heroines” form a chain of strong, supportive women around the world who take action for resolutely positive change.


⏩ Learn about Naomi Fagla Medegan, one of the 2021 winners, who has successfully introduced a back-to-work scheme focused on collecting plastic waste for recycling.

Join the Terre de Femmes community

Are you also a woman committed to biodiversity and changing the world? Are you looking for support with developing your project to protect the environment? Please join our community of winners who have also decided to take the plunge and take part in the competition.

⏩ Apply for the Terre de Femmes award

“As climate negotiations continue, I think we need to collectively amplify the voice of people who take action on the ground every day for a future that’s safer and more peaceful for everyone,”

Jacques Rocher

Sources :

SUPPORT comitted women,
initiatives in favour of biodiversity and the Foundation's work.
#let's cultivate commitment

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

قطعات خودرو