On World Environment Day, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), with the United Nations in India today launched the Women in Sustainability (WiS) initiative. WiS seeks to promote greater participation, inclusiveness, and visibility of women in all levels of the sustainability public policy workforce. Its endeavour is to recognise and take affirmative action to counter the challenges that restrict women from taking on bigger roles in their career and, consequently, greater participation in this sector. This initiative aims to be a network of individuals and institutions committed to increasing participation and encouraging career growth for women across various segments of the public policy sector.
Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, said, “As women globally make strides toward advancing the ideals of sustainability in multiple forms, sectors and countries, they continue to face gender-based challenges. CEEW is committed to promoting gender diversity in sustainability. As part of WiS, CEEW will work on practical steps that institutions, colleagues, and women themselves can take to increase participation and encourage career growth for women in this sector. WiS will be a platform for women researchers, analysts and policy advisors to showcase their work and also provide mentorship opportunities for women at universities or at the beginning of their careers.”
Applauding CEEW’s initiative, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and a recent member of the International Gender Champion movement said, “Empowering women and girls everywhere is going to be a key factor for transforming our societies and economies onto a positive development path. There is abundant research and practical evidence that women can assist in building stronger, more resilient and environmentally-friendly communities that are better able to resist climatic impacts and seize the opportunities from a transition to a greener, cleaner world. I, therefore, welcome CEEW's Women in Sustainability initiative and look forward to it flourishing in the years to come.”
Commenting on the initiative, Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator in India said, “The network is an important effort in amplifying the voice of women in sustainability.”
Ms Kanika Chawla, Senior Programme Lead, CEEW, added, “As women working in the sustainability sector in India—NGOs, think tanks, media organisations, government and academia—it is par for the course to be the lone woman at a roundtable or a panel and sometimes, at the entire event. WiS will address several gender-based challenges, as women globally make strides toward advancing the ideals of sustainability in multiple sectors, forms, and countries.”
CEEW analysed the percentage of women working in 15 climate and energy policy think-tanks in India at various levels: Employees (36%), Leadership (33%) and Board of Trustees (21%). These numbers exemplify two major issues plaguing the country: - insufficient number of women being promoted to managerial positions, and women permanently leaving the workforce.”