A one-day event bringing together a diverse audience of panellists and participants in a roundtable discussion on the state of women's participation in climate change dialogue, governance, and decision-making.
Problems and Purpose
Women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change yet they remain a minority voice in the development of solutions. This roundtable was convened by Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Environment to discuss and hopefully answer the following questions:
- What would it look like if there was gender equity and fully inclusive participation in your sector to take action on climate change?
- What innovative methods of inclusion and participation would you scale up to address climate solutions?
According to the convenor, the roundtable is a chance "to share and mobilize knowledge about the participatory methods that foster women’s leadership in climate change solutions."
Background History and Context
Historical gender inequality has led to greater economic, infrastructure and employment, and health disparities between men and women. As a consequence, the effects of climate change will have disproportionate, negative effects on women. The relatively recent increase and empowerment of women in positions of decision-making and governance has proven them key agents of social, economic, and political innovation. If given the ability to participate equally in matters of climate change, women will undoubtedly increase the number and effectiveness of cross-sector policies, programs, and solutions.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The roundtable is the result of a partnership between the Simon Fraser University Faculty of Environment, CityHive, Participedia.net, Women Transforming Cities, and the Suzuki Elders. Other supporters and participants include the City of Vancouver, One Earth, Student Energy, Young Agrarians, Change Finance, Climate Guides. The lead convenor of the event was Joanna Ashworth, Director of Professional Programs and Partnerships, Professor in the Faculty of Environment, Senior Associate at SFU's Wosk Centre for Dialogue, and co-applicant of the Participedia project.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Participants were recruited through a variety of community and professional networks. Targeted demographics included researchers, experts, leaders, and students from a variety of sectors: government, civil society, academia, think tanks, and private funders.
Methods and Tools Used
Being primarily a knowledge sharing and deliberative event, organizers chose a roundtable methodology (similar to a 'workshop') to allow for individual presentations as well as audience questions and comments, and group dialogue.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Note: this event is ongoing. The following is the proposed agenda of speakers and themes published on the event's webpage:
Presenters & Thematic Hosts:
- Ginger Gosnell-Myers
- Andrea Reimer, Councilor City of Vancouver
- Rosemary Cooper, Senior Associate and Lead on Share Reuse Repair, One Earth
- Veronika Bylicki , Co-Founder City Hive, COP24 BC Youth Delegate
- Ellen Woodsworth, Founder and Co-chair, Women Transforming Cities International Society
- Meredith Adler, Executive Director Student Energy
- Erlene Woollard, Suzuki Elders
- Sarah Dent, Young Agrarians
- Tiffany Muller Myrdahl, Senior Lecturer, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies & Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University
- Donna Morton, CEO Change Finance
- Caroline Merner, Climate Guides
- Olive Dempsey
- Tarah Stafford, Community Organizing, Climate Communications
- Gender Rights, Human Rights, Indigenous Right and Climate Justice
- Gender Equity and Environmental Sustainability
- Youth Engagement
- Agents of Change in Climate Change Solutions: Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, Public Policy, Communications, Community Engagement, Cities and National Government
- Integrating the UN SDG’s and Climate Change Targets
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The roundtable facilitated the ability of the participants to:
- Identify and frame key challenges and implications for policy and programs.
- Document participatory methods that foster inclusion, meaningful participation and leadership on policy and program solutions.
- Build support for leadership capacity and resiliency building initiatives.
- Contribute to Participedia.net catalogue of cases, methods and organizational profiles.
- Inform the development of a Women and Climate Action on-line course at SFU.
In addition, the following ideas for action, reflection and research emerged from the Roundtable. As of this writing, the extent to which progress is being made on these recommendations is unknown.
- Hold and codify a vision of a regenerative society that is just, that foregrounds women’s leadership, and is low carbon resilient. Share it widely. If you can imagine it, you can create it.
- Use personal and organization power to leverage change toward a conscious, low carbon footprint, including women, and people who are often excluded from decision-making including new Canadians, diverse economic resources, abilities, and ages (youth and Elders).
- Build capacity for leadership – using a Gender Based Assessment Plus (race, sexuality, culture, class) lens that works through dialogue, conflict resolution, convening and planning.
- Learn to use and insist on methods of engagement that are non-hierarchical, respectful of difference and inclusive of diversity
- Recognize the work begin done that contributes to solve climate change Advocate for regulations and public policy that supports and reinforces these actions at all levels of government.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
A recap of the event was published on SFU's website, along with a downloadable full report.
Roundtable Discussion (method)
Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue
 SFU Faculty of Environment, "Women's Participation and Leadership in Climate Change Solutions," Eventbrite, June 21, 2018, https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/roundtable-on-the-research-and-practice-of-womens-participation-and-leadership-in-climate-solutions-tickets-46083302398