Climate leaders celebrated on International Women’s Day

By Oxfam

Washington, DC— International humanitarian organization Oxfam America marked International Women’s Day today by celebrating the efforts of a number of women who bear witness to the impacts of climate change and who are working on solutions, locally and globally.

The event is part of Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet Climate Leaders Summit, which brings to Washington almost 100 women from 33 states to advocate for climate legislation that includes substantial investments in vulnerable communities around the world. This Summit takes place just as the Senate is undertaking new efforts to pass climate change legislation.

“International Women's Day is about celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. And so today, we celebrate the women who lead the charge in creating the political momentum needed to address climate change in a way that empowers their sisters across the globe to add their voice and ingenuity to the solution,” said Janet McKinley, Oxfam America’s Chair of the Board.

Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet initiative unites prominent, well-connected American women from sectors spanning government, business, non-profit, faith, entertainment, and philanthropy to amplify the voices of millions of women worldwide who are adversely affected by climate change. The effort seeks a comprehensive climate and energy bill that builds the strengths of poor communities around the world to successfully adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“Because women are disproportionally impacted by the effects of climate change, they are in an excellent position to devise local solutions,” said Majora Carter, the event’s Keynote Speaker and President of the Majora Carter Group, a consultancy specializing in environmental justice and sustainable economic development. “Women, who have been excluded from much of the decision making processes that brought us here, represent the possibility of a new vision.”

Two prominent women — Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin Barbara Lawton and League of Women Voters President Mary Wilson — were presented with Sisters on the Planet Climate Leaders Awards to celebrate their efforts to promote US policy that combats the effects of the climate crisis.

“As Congress develops the ambitious legislative package to tackle climate change, we must not forget about the people who are struggling to cope with the negative impacts of climate change today and those who will struggle tomorrow, here and around the world.” said Lawton.

“On this International Women’s Day, we are here to remind our lawmakers that cutting our emissions is necessary, but only part of the climate change equation. Providing the necessary resources to help poor people, especially women, cope with a changing climate is the other,” said Wilson.

Four women from the front lines of climate change in Peru, Uganda, Senegal, and the US Gulf Coast were also presented with Sisters on the Planet Climate Witness Awards.

“I ask Americans to help my community fight the climate change that destroys our houses, increases diseases and stops our children from attending schools,” said Constance Okollet, a farmer who has journeyed from the Tororo district in Eastern Uganda for the event.

“From using hand cranked radios that give advance warning of threatening storms to planting trees that protect water supplies, women on the front lines in the battle against climate change are fighting back, and we must help them,” said Sharon Hanshaw, Executive Director of Coastal Women for Change in Biloxi, Mississippi. “On this International Women’s Day, we must get through the noise in Washington and get Congress to help poor communities cope!”

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