Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Yet, it’s women’s unique role on the frontlines of the climate crisis that makes them distinctly equipped to be powerful leaders.
Throughout Women’s History Month, we spoke with 11 climate groups that are led by women and work in direct support of frontline communities. We asked them about the meaning of leadership, the evolution of the climate movement, feminism, their definition of success and who inspires them.
The answers were as varied as the groups themselves, but certain themes emerged, including the meaning of solidarity, the importance of intersectionality, how oppressive social structures are connected, and how feminism and the climate movement can evolve in tandem to uplift the women most impacted by climate change.
We’re proud to feature these 11 organizations doing impactful work every day, while pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a women-led group in the climate movement.
The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice
The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice raises funds and makes grants to groups addressing intersecting climate, gender and racial justice crises in the U.S. The group’s mission is rooted in a belief that addressing white supremacy, patriarchy and the economic systems that make pollution profitable requires strong strategy, but also healing, rest and joy.
The Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
The Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) works toward a world that protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment. WEDO fulfills its mission through engaging in policy conversations to center gender equity, facilitating space for women and feminists to exercise their political voice, building and maintaining knowledge bases around feminist analysis and redistributing resources to organizations globally.
The Vessel Project
The Vessel Project is a mutual aid organization based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Founded and led by Roishetta Ozane, The Vessel Project has raised significant funds to help Lake Charles residents get back on their feet after back-to-back hurricanes. The Vessel Project currently advocates for federal disaster relief and continues to provide mutual aid.
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International engages women across the globe in the fight for climate justice. Founded and directed by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN believes that women are climate leaders despite rampant gender inequity and fulfills its mission by engaging women in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects and movement-building for climate justice.
The Grey Water Project
The Grey Water Project is a nonprofit which promotes the safe reuse of grey water, a type of wastewater that comes from sinks, showers and laundry machines. Founded by Stanford freshman Shreya Ramachandran, The Grey Water Project achieves its mission through outreach, advocacy and education.
Azul is a grassroots organization working with Latinx people to conserve marine resources. Founded in 2011, Azul has achieved groundbreaking ocean conservation policy victories in California, including the first statewide ban of single-use plastic bags in the country. It was an achievement inspired by founder Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš’s grandmother, Maria, and her trusty reusable bag.
NC Interfaith Power & Light
NC Interfaith Power & Light (NCIPL) mobilizes faith communities to prioritize climate justice. NCIPL has been women-led for over 17 years and is currently directed by Rev. Susannah Tuttle, who leads the organization’s faith-based climate work and preaches about the responsibility of global religions to affirm women’s dignity and human rights.
The Texas Campaign for the Environment
The Texas Campaign for the Environment is a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to empowering Texans to take action against climate change and pollution. Through statewide canvassing, the group has amassed a series of environmental victories from passing statewide anti-air pollution laws to establishing electronics recycling programs in Texas.
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Environment and Health Program
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Environment and Health Program works to protect the public from environmental hazards and climate change through educating and mobilizing physicians, promoting renewable energy and supporting efforts to oppose fracking and other polluting fossil fuel projects.
The US Water Alliance
The US Water Alliance believes that all water has value. This national nonprofit fulfills its mission by advocating for the “One Water” approach, which treats water – from the tap to the drain – as an integrated system that we should manage sustainably and inclusively.
Healthy Gulf protects the Gulf of Mexico, its rich natural resources and the people that depend on them. Founded in 1994 by various conservation groups across the Gulf, the group currently aims to conserve Gulf resources, advance climate justice, hold the oil industry accountable and protect clean water in the Gulf.