Facts, Article

Gender, Climate, and Parliament

Did you know that the four most climate-resilient countries in the world are led by women? They are Norway, New Zealand, Finland and Denmark and congratulations go to their Prime Ministers Erna Solberg, Jacinda Adern, Sanna Marin and Mette Frederiksen on their nation’s achievements. Interestingly, the proportion of women in all of their parliaments is above 40%.

In contrast, the four least climate-resilient countries are led by men and have much lower numbers of women in their parliaments: Eritrea (22% women in parliament), Central African Republic (9%), Somalia (24%) and Chad (15%).

To give humanity the best chance of surviving the climate crisis, we need more women around decision-making tables in community groups, workplaces, and all levels of government.

How does Australia fare?

There are 16.7 million people on our nation’s electoral roll, and 51% of them are women. Australia’s Federal Parliament consists of 227 members, 86 of whom are women (38%). Women make up 51% of the Senate and 31% of the House of Representatives. Currently, there are 6 women in the 22-member decision-making Cabinet (27%).

Recent events in Parliament House will not help to make politics an attractive career choice for women. However, to get fairer representation, we must support more women to take on leadership roles at all levels of society and government.

Here are a few of the ways that you can help women take on leadership roles.

  • Acknowledge young girls for their leadership potential (replacing the language of bossiness with leadership).
  • Encourage young women to be informed and share their views openly and confidently.
  • Mentor women in your workplace, so they are prepared for leadership positions.
  • Champion women in their careers.
  • Learn how, through following a leader, you can create a movement.
Reduce Emissions, Article

Bronwen takes action

Never underestimate the impact that our actions may have on other people. For example, Bronwen Haywood, from the Zonta Club of Central Goldfields, was inspired when she read about a couple who had reduced their waste so much that they only put their bin out once a year.

From this, Bronwen began to look critically at what she was putting in her own bin. She diligently reduced, reused, recycled, re-thought and repaired – and now only rolls her bin out once a month!

Her actions were highlighted in her local paper and the article is shown below.

Bronwen has kindly shared her tips and we have used them to create our first Zonta Says NOW leaflet.

…and there’s more.

Bronwen had also written to her local paper the previous month to highlight her concerns about climate action. Her letter asked people to find out their preferred candidates’ views on the important issue of the climate challenges our planet is facing – before casting their vote.

The letter paints an image of life in Australia at the moment and is reproduced below.

The Letter

This was published in the Maryborough Advertiser on 29 September 2020

Retirement came to me in late February 2020 with vague plans to spend more time visiting adult children in Melbourne and exploring Melbourne by bicycle, with the odd trip to Sydney to visit another daughter.

COVID-19 changed plans for all of humanity. Thus, my cycling has been on the quiet roads of Central Goldfields Shire and includes visits to surrounding villages with friends for coffee when allowed. When you cycle, you can observe the landscape at a much slower pace and observe the detail. Currently, the golden wattle and the canola are making for perfect golden yellow vistas and the magpies are keeping me on alert. The distressing feature that is also observed at close quarters is the roadside litter –  varieties of drink containers, fast food packaging & household rubbish left to litter our precious environment – very visible evidence of human impact on this planet earth that we all call home.

For someone that has recently watched Planet A: Our Climate Challenge, hosted by Craig Reucassel on ABC observing this is sad. This 3 part program is all about how this planet is the only one we’ve got. There’s no plan b or Planet B.

Craig  says:

“This keeps getting framed as an environmental issue, and people always say things about it being the end of the planet. But it’s not the end of the planet. The planet will be here. It’s how we live on the planet that’s really going to be challenged.” “Not only have we got a big footprint, Australia gets smashed by climate change. Our country is really susceptible to the changes that are coming”

Further adding to my woes, is reading an article in the Med. Journal of Australia where the key finding is that Australia is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on health. Policy inaction is putting lives at risk. I agree with Peter Hartcher, Age journo when he writes “Australia has lost a decade courtesy of Canberra”.

On a happier note:

– South Australia has become the first state to ban single-use plastics in Australia, but the new rules will not come into effect until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

– South Australia has had a container deposit scheme since 1977

– By 2022–23 Victoria will have a container deposit scheme that will work alongside the new household waste collection system and make recycling easier outside the home and creating new jobs in the recycling sector.

If you, like me want a planet to live on safe for your grandchildren, then we need to take action now – on a personal level and at all levels of government. I urge you to contact your elected representatives at all levels of government and request action on climate change before it is too late. Before you cast your vote in the upcoming council election, ask about (or find out) your preferred candidates’ views on the important issue of the climate challenges our planet is facing.

Bronwen Haywood

Thanks Bronwen for sharing your actions and inspiring us all!