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As the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties approaches, the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls recognizes the critical role women and girls play in the fight against climate change. Across the world, women often hold the role of primary caregivers in their communities, taking on responsibilities including finding food and fuel. In doing so, they are more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur. Women and girls are also excluded from climate-related decision-making. Like many issues, climate change is intersectional in its impact. It demands an equitable approach that centers community-driven solutions at the intersections of gender and race. As recommended in Ascend at the Aspen Institute‚Äôs recent State of the Field report, centering gender and racial equity will support holistic solutions that prioritize the needs of communities who are historically harmed by discrimination and divestment. 

We honor women and girls from all over the world, who have dedicated themselves to the fight for climate justice through research, policy, activism and beyond. Changemakers include Carmela Bagum, a young woman from the Philippines whose fishing village is prone to floods and typhoons. She is one of the millions of girls whose education has been disrupted by the climate crisis, but she is also part of the rising generation of women leading the charge to confront this crisis. We also applaud the fierce leadership of women working to ensure that the U.S. federal government prioritizes equitable approaches to address environmental justice for all communities, including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm.

Involving women and girls in climate change mitigation creates a ripple effect – from clean water to heightened land rights – yielding benefits not only to individuals but countless global communities.

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