Women climate leaders from around the world to attend a summit hosted by Canada this spring

News release

March 8, 2018 – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Gender equality and climate change are key priorities for the Government of Canada. The Canadian and global economies are stronger, and the environment is better protected when women are fully engaged in solutions to tackle climate change and spur clean growth.

Today, during a keynote interview at the World Ocean Summit in Mexico, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that Canada will host the Women Leaders Kicking It on Climate Summit, in Ottawa—on May 16 and 17—as part of Canada’s engagement activities in preparation for the Environment Ministerial Meeting of its G7 presidency this year.

A priority for Canada’s G7 presidency is to mainstream discussions about gender. This priority will ensure that gender equality and gender-based analysis are integrated across all themes, activities, and outcomes, including on environment and climate change. The Summit will bring together high-level female influencers from the public, private, academic, and civil-society sectors to advance climate action, the empowerment of women, and gender equality. The Summit will include a dialogue on how climate action can be gender responsive and how it can contribute to gender equity and the empowerment of women.

Around the world, people with less access to resources and with greater responsibility for family and community welfare are feeling the effects of climate change the most. Women farmers currently account for 45 to 80 percent of all food production in developing countries, depending on the region. In the context of climate change, traditional food sources become more unpredictable and scarce, and women face loss of income as well as harvests—often their sole source of food and income.

Women play a critical role in responding to climate change. Women leaders around the world have shaped ambitious climate policies and ensured the needs of individuals affected by climate change are part of the conversation. At the local level, women’s inclusion as leaders has brought improved outcomes for climate-related projects and policies. Research in India revealed that the number of drinking-water projects in areas with women-led councils was 62 percent higher than in those with men-led councils.

Canada is an international champion for applying a gender lens to climate change and for supporting women’s climate action and participation in international climate talks. Canada played a leading role in securing the first-ever Gender Action Plan under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted last year by countries at COP23. The Plan aims to bring more women to the negotiation table and promote more responsive climate policies at grassroots and global levels.


“I am excited and proud to host so many female climate leaders in Canada. Women are not only disproportionately affected by climate change, but they are also leading action. As I've seen first-hand, women are truly kickin’ it on climate. At the Summit, we will be advancing action under the Paris Agreement, supporting clean innovation and good jobs and ensuring a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Studies have shown that an increase in female labour-force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women and men’s labour-force participation—results in faster economic growth.

  • In October 2017, Canada worked with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization to support a four-day training session in Barbados, attended by 20 new female negotiators from 12 countries in the Caribbean region. The training focused on strengthening their capacity to participate effectively in climate change negotiation processes, such as COP23.

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Julia Kilpatrick
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page

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