Women Ending the Era of Fossil Fuels: A Just Transition Led by WECAN International

Women Ending the Era of Fossil Fuels: A Just Transition Led by WECAN International
Source: © Giuseppe Ramos/Vecteezy


Emily Wolfe 

Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence

On September 20th, 2023, the Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) International hosted a pivotal event titled "Women Ending the Era of Fossil Fuels and Leading a Just Transition". The gathering spanned from 4:45 to 8:00 PM ET, drawing attention to the crucial role of women in the global shift away from fossil fuels.

The term "just transition" has been gaining traction in environmental and economic circles, representing a holistic approach to the challenges posed by climate change. At its core, a just transition seeks to ensure that as economies pivot towards sustainable production, the rights and livelihoods of workers are not left behind. This framework is not just about the environment; it is about people. It emphasises the need for social interventions that not only combat the adverse effects of climate change, but also protect our planet's rich biodiversity.

However, what does a just transition mean in the context of the fossil fuel phase-out? As the world grapples with the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, the call to gradually diminish the use and production of fossil fuels has never been louder. This phase-out is a cornerstone of the broader renewable energy transition, aiming to achieve multiple objectives. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we can significantly decrease deaths and illnesses resulting from air pollution. Moreover, this shift is instrumental in limiting the catastrophic impacts of climate change and bolstering energy independence for nations worldwide.

WECAN International's event underscored the interconnectedness of these issues. By spotlighting women at the forefront of this movement, the organisation highlighted the unique perspectives and solutions women bring to the table. Historically, women have often been at the receiving end of the adverse health and economic impacts of fossil fuel dependence. As such, their leadership in this just transition is not just symbolic, but essential.

The gathering at the United Nations Plaza served as a reminder that the journey towards a sustainable future is multifaceted. It is not just about technology or policy; it is about ensuring that the transition is equitable and just for all. As economies evolve and adapt, the well-being of impacted communities, especially those that have been historically marginalised, must be at the forefront of our efforts.

WECAN International's event was more than just a meeting; it was a clarion call. A call for collective action, for recognising the invaluable role of women in this transition, and for ensuring that as we move away from fossil fuels, we do so with justice, equity, and humanity at the heart of our endeavours.