Evidence shows that closing gender gaps in education can help countries better adapt to the effects of climate change and decrease the rate and impact of global warming.
The world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe — and girls are disproportionately bearing the impact. Climate-related events like flooding, droughts and increased exposure to zoonotic diseases amplify the inequalities girls face and further limit their ability to access and complete their education. Malala Fund’s new report, A greener, fairer future: Why leaders need to invest in climate and girls' education, estimates that in 2021 climate-related events will prevent at least four million girls in low- and lower-middle-income countries from completing their education. If current trends continue, by 2025 climate change will be a contributing factor in preventing at least 12.5 million girls from completing their education each year.
Yet evidence shows that closing gender gaps in education can help countries better adapt to the effects of climate change and decrease the rate and impact of global warming.
“Girls in lower-income countries are the least responsible for the climate crisis, so it’s a travesty that it now threatens their very lifeline to a brighter future: quality education,” said Lucia Fry, Director of Research and Policy at Malala Fund. “Malala Fund wants leaders at COP26 to hear young people’s demands around education. They know that climate action helps girls stay in school, which in turn helps countries tackle the climate crisis. Young people are demanding an education that will prepare them to adapt to the effects of climate change and challenge the root causes of the crisis.”
A greener, fairer future outlines the origins of the climate emergency and explains how confronting issues like the legacy of colonialism, racial discrimination and gender inequality through education is key to finding a sustainable solution to the crisis. The paper introduces the Gender-Equal Green Learning Agenda, a new framework to help leaders address the climate crisis through education.
In this report, Malala Fund recommends how leaders can take urgent climate action at meetings this year, like COP26. This includes reducing carbon emissions, improving girls’ access to education, helping communities adapt to the realities of climate change and transforming education systems to provide all students with the knowledge, skills and values needed to challenge the social and economic inequalities fuelling the climate crisis.
For more about the links between climate change and girls’ education, read the full paper below.