How to Advance Women’s Leadership in Climate Action

Climate change is a global crisis, affecting every human around the world. However, systemic barriers hinder women’s ability to effectively prepare for and respond to climate impacts which are disproportionately affecting them. Attempts to ensure climate justice and lasting solutions without including the voices of half of the world’s population are doomed to fail. Yet, women are still underrepresented in climate-related decision-making, resulting in processes that overlook their specific needs and crucial contributions. Women’s expertise, innovations and leadership at all levels are key to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s goals and climate business performance. Business has an important role to play in tackling climate change as a gendered issue by delivering climate resilient solutions with a focus on women and contributing to a gender-just transition to a net zero economy. 


  • Cihan Urhan, Manager, Economic Research at TSKB
  • Habiba Ali, Founder & CEO, Sosai
  • Jacquie Muhat, Head of Sustainability and Partnerships, Kenya Airways
  • Miguel Ángel Alonso, Director General de México y Centroamérica, ACCIONA Energía
  • Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief Sustainability Officer, ReNew Power
  • Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO, UN Global Compact
  • Paloma Costa Oliveira, Member of the UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group

What we learned:

Key takeaways:

  • Women are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts and underrepresented in climate-related decision-making processes. 
  • Yet, women are already at the forefront of climate solutions -from traditional local knowledge to innovative entrepreneurship- and women’s leadership at all levels is key to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s goals. 
  • Business has an important role to play in tackling structural barriers hindering women’s ability to adapt to climate change and fully contribute to climate-related processes. 
  • Companies have the opportunity to deliver gender-responsive climate action by developing climate-resilient solutions with a focus on women and supporting a gender-just transition to a net zero economy.  
  • The world needs a gender-just transition that leaves no one behind, and business as a vital role to play. 
  • Women are more represented in the renewable sector than the fossil fuel industry, yet occupational and gender pay gaps remain. The just transition to a green, net zero economy is an opportunity for a paradigm shift away not only from fossil fuels but from gender inequality. 
  • A gender just transition requires companies to look beyond jobs traditionally seen as “green” to also include low-carbon activities that contribute to broader societal resilience, which are often underpaid and majoritarily feminized, including in healthcare, education, caregiving and small-scale agriculture. 

Key actions for companies: 

  • Educate yourself and peers on the intersections between women, gender and climate, how it impacts business and the business case for integrated gender-climate action 
  • Ensure (and track!) equal participation of all genders in climate-related processes and just transition strategies, including community and stakeholder consultations
  • Set targets and take proactive steps to recruit women in climate-related roles and decision making positions 
  • Provide budget for mentoring and leadership programmes, upskilling and reskilling of women in fields contributing to a just transition to a green, net zero economy
  • Support women in STEM education, for example through collaborations with local universities and training centers  
  • Proactively source from and provide financing to women-led business fostering innovative climate solutions
  • Advocate for ambitious national gender action plans and climate plans to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.    

Recommended Resources

  • News