Citizen’s Assembly Submission: Tackling Climate Change

The Citizen’s Assembly recently sought submissions in response to the question “how can the State make Ireland a leader in tackling global climate change?” The YWCA Ireland welcomed this opportunity to make a submission on behalf of our members, which you can find below.


Ireland; A State Approach to Empowering Young Women to be Leaders of Climate Action

There is little doubt that there exists a small window of opportunity for the Irish state to become a global leader in tackling climate change. The Irish government and people must grasp this opportunity with vigour and challenge the status quo, ensuring that young women have the opportunity to be leaders of climate action, amplifying young women’s voices in fora where they are rarely heard and acknowledging the undeniable and disproportionate impact that climate change has on all women, particularly young women.

Specifically, YWCA Ireland calls on the Irish State to become a leader in tackling climate change by:

  1. Raising awareness of the disproportionate impact  that climate change has on women and girls worldwide. Women and young people make up the majority of the world’s poor and many have a high dependence on natural resources and the local environment in developing countries. Further they bear a disproportionate responsibility for producing and preparing food for their families and communities – this makes them especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Additionally, climate change depletes fuel and water resources forcing women and young girls in developing countries to travel further, thereby, increasing risk and reducing access to education, work and political involvement. When we speak of climate change we need to focus on women and girls because the impacts are felt disproportionately by them.


  1. Removing barriers to young women’s meaningful participation and leadership in climate justice in Ireland and internationally. Around the world women face exclusion from governance and decision making processes; however, in spite of this women are often on the frontline of defending the environment and fighting climate change[1]. There is an opportunity for the State to meaningfully invite and include the voices and ideas of young women in Ireland’s climate actions.  This would heighten the integrity of the processes as well as demonstrating a progressive approach to the international community. Ireland can play a powerful role in leading by example in this area and in supporting and challenging other states and international bodies to do the same.
  2. Leading in the development and deployment of gender sensitive strategies that respond to climate change at an international level, and advocate for a gender-sensitive response at the national, European and global level – including in the national mitigation plan. This is necessary because historically, climate policy has not referenced the differing ways that climate change affects men and women. Gender-sensitive strategies can enhance the roles that women already play within their communities as defenders of their environment.
  3. Making knowledge transfer accessible to all women in Ireland, including women in faith communities, about the reality and severity of climate change through education and awareness initiatives. This will empower women with an accurate understanding of climate change, giving them the opportunity to become leaders of change and advocate and partake in Ireland’s leadership on climate action.
  4. Incorporating climate change into Ireland’s international aid distribution through identifying and supporting communities and regions being negatively impacted and ensuring that aid responds to the needs of the most vulnerable women and girls.
  5. Acknowledge the reality of and advocate for the recognition of climate refugees. The IPCC found that those most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change are also those with the least opportunity to migrate. Climate change can contribute to issues of drought, yield failures, land degradation, land loss due to sea level rise and exacerbate political tensions. Factors such as these have forced people to migrate both within their national borders and internationally. Quantifying the impacts of climate change and the role it’s played in displacing people has proved challenging, but despite this the reality that climate displacement occurs warrants resourcing and accommodation from the international community and full recognition in international legislation.
  6. Being intentional in striving for a climate just planet that delivers for women and girls. This must be carried forward through a gender just and equitable and safe transition toward a low-carbon economy and gender responsive strategies to increase women’s resilience to the economic impacts of climate change.

In conclusion, YWCA Ireland calls on the State, in striving for a climate justice movement and country that values women and girl’s lives and their contributions, to meaningfully engage young women in all aspects and at all levels of climate action.


Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th assessment report on climate change.

National Mitigation Plan:


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