Skip to main content


Standing with all women and girls at the heart of climate justice

02 March 2022

A digital illustration of three women of diverse ethnic and gender presenting backgrounds and disability, holding hands. Flora in neon green, olive green, neon purple and coral is overlaid. OHCHR/ALEXANDRA LINNIK

On International Women’s Day, 8 March, UN Human Rights will celebrate and showcase the work of women and girl human rights defenders of diverse backgrounds and identities who are individually and collectively advancing gender equality and human rights as part of the environmental justice movement.

"Across the world, women and girl human rights defenders of all ages, backgrounds and identities are leading the struggle to protect our environment,” says UN Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet. “Despite pushback and chronic underfunding, they, and the feminist movements they lead, continue to demand a seat at the table and urgent action to safeguard our future."

Individually and collectively, across the world, these activists are demanding urgent action to protect the environment, to safeguard both the present and our future - as managers of resources and advocates of sustainable lifestyles, and as staunch human rights defenders of land, water, nature, and communities.

Gender equality is at the heart of a just, equal and sustainable world

Research shows time and again that women and girls in vulnerable situations have borne the brunt of climate change, nature loss and pollution because of their age, descent, ethnicity, race, economic and social class, indigenous background, gender identity, sexual orientation, migrant status, and disability -of climate change, nature loss and pollution. This triple planetary threat continues to jeopardize their human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Effectively starting to address this crisis will require a gender-responsive, human rights-based approach, targeting the root causes of inequality, discrimination and marginalization, and making room for the important contributions of all, especially women and persons with diverse gender identities, women of African descent, indigenous women, women of colour, migrant women, young women and girls, and women with disabilities.

Climate change is a human rights crisis that demands a feminist response.

Women and girls are demanding a meaningful seat at the table and urgent action to safeguard the future

Evidence shows that although advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls can lead to better food and economic security and to more environmentally conscious decision-making, women and girl human rights defenders continue to be excluded from decision-making spaces, and from being taken seriously, funded, empowered, and protected from intimidation, violence, and attacks often targeted at their families, their reputation, their gender, their sexuality, their race and their disability. We need to all recognise, support, promote, fund, celebrate, engage, and stand with women and girl human rights defenders - in all their rich diversity. Join us.

"Every victory for social action is a triumph of inclusion and diversity. It is the result of people collectively joining hands to demand and effect change – including by advancing the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment," Bachelet says. "I Stand With Her. For a better today and a more equal, just and sustainable tomorrow."

Find out more about this year’s International Women’s Day campaign under the theme 'Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow'.