#WomenSpeak: Gender equality and climate justice, two sides of same coin

BWI's women trade unionists spoke on climate justice and gender equality as two sides of the same coin to mark the end of spring 2023. They believe that without a just transition, gender stereotypes would endure, prohibiting women workers, for example, from accessing new employment created by a shift to a green economy. Women trade unionists renew their call for a just transition that fully embraces equality, peace, and green jobs. They claimed that a fair transition can lead to safer occupations for women workers, particularly in hazardous industries.

Kathleen Ingram, a 22-year-old carpenter and CFMEU member in Australia, believes that as technology advances and industries become more climate-responsive, women's rights must improve equally. "I realised how important it was for women to have formal work qualifications." My union's assistance is very appreciated. Thanks to my union, I was able to go through extensive training. I hope that as innovation and technology advance, we will be able to design more sustainable and climate resilient buildings with less material usage and a cleaner source of energy, contributing to better environmental outcomes," she said.

Tith Sokun, Vice President of the BWTUC in Cambodia, emphasised the need of trade unions in preparing women workers for green professions. "It is critical that workers, especially women, have the opportunity to improve their technological skills and be prepared to take on green jobs.  As trade unionists, we have a significant role to play in the transformation process and in ensuring a healthy, safe, and exploitation-free workplace."

Shanta Basnet, President of CUPPEC-Nepal, explained how women workers play a unique role in the struggle for climate justice. "Women are critical to achieving climate justice and a fair transition - not only is it critical to ensure that our perspective is included when developing climate change mitigation strategies, but it is equally or even more important to invest in working women's skills and knowledge and prepare them for future jobs."