Create a better life for women all around the world. Sounds like a great concept, right? Well an organization based in Brooklyn NY is doing just that. Women’s Environment and Development Organization, or WEDO, wants to “ensure that women’s rights; social, economic and environmental justice; and sustainable development principles, as well as the linkages between them, are at the heart of global and national policies, programs and practices” (WEDO). Maintaining and increasing diversity among leadership roles, according to WEDO, is the answer to defeating women’s underrepresentation in environmental policy. Their history started with women in Congress and has led to the emergence of programs that all center around climate justice. The pioneers of the movement have successfully created a space so that every woman can help and also be helped in this arduous fight to equality among every human being on earth.

Create a better life for women all around the world. Sounds like a great concept, right? Well an organization based in Brooklyn NY is doing just that. Women’s Environment and Development Organization, or WEDO, wants to “ensure that women’s rights; social, economic and environmental justice; and sustainable development principles, as well as the linkages between them, are at the heart of global and national policies, programs and practices” (WEDO). Maintaining and increasing diversity among leadership roles, according to WEDO, is the answer to defeating women’s underrepresentation in environmental policy. Their history started with women in Congress and has led to the emergence of programs that all center around climate justice. The pioneers of the movement have successfully created a space so that every woman can help and also be helped in this arduous fight to equality among every human being on earth.

Established in 1991, WEDO was founded by Congresswoman Bella Abzug and journalist Mim Kelber as a response to some of the disastrous UN conference policies implemented in the 1990s.” to help women in everyday life. One of the most notable was the World Conference on Women that was held in 1995 in Beijing. Known as the Beijing Platform for Action, it was an agenda for women’s empowerment. “It aims at…removing all the obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision making” (UN.org). The main objective of this platform was to highlight that the discrimination experienced by women was not just a detriment to them but to everyone. As the saying goes, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” True progression can only come when everyone has the opportunity to be great and that means providing some of the same resources that are currently only afforded to a few. Though the conferences of the 90s was a monumental step in the right direction, there was still a lot of ground to cover when referring to women’s rights. WEDO has made strides in the international women’s movement and has collaborated with more Southern partners to increase leadership in all areas of government. They not only want to push for more women leaders, but they also want to hold government accountable for upholding current laws that benefit women.

Many women want to help with advancement but just don’t know where to start. WEDO has introduced programs that “work to support and build a movement at all levels that can shift behavior, change global and local systems and promote justice for all” (WEDO). Among them are Mobilizing Women for Climate Justice, Gender Responsive Climate Policy, Women’s Leadership: The Women Delegates Fund, Empower Women-Benefit All, and Women’s Major Group. Mobilizing Women for Climate Justice seems like it shouldn’t be an issue of women not being at the helm of its eradication, but it is deeper than that. “While climate change affects everyone, women and men experience the impacts differently, and women are often disproportionately negatively affected.” To deflect the effects of climate change, there has to be a funnel of resources available. Unfortunately, these resources are afforded more to the male population compared to women. By having more women at the forefront, this will allow for their issues to be acknowledged and acted upon. Just by making these adjustments to leadership, it can change the course of women’s health around the world. WEDO wants to encourage everyone to be a part of the change we so desperately need. Whether your strength is design, writing, accounting, etc. you can volunteer and lend your services to this movement.
Trying to effect change in a world that is built on years and years of patriarchy is an overwhelming task, but WEDO has done their due diligence and presented facts to combat the system that has failed us. Creating a world where everyone is treated equally is not unrealistic, but the work has to be done by women and men. Our environmental integrity is at risk, but WEDO has provided some resources to tackle this crisis head-on.