On September 20th, the worldwide fight for climate change dominated national headlines. Around 100,000 teens took to the streets across Berlin, London, and Melbourne to demand political change and heightened awareness for climate change. Tens of thousands did the same in Rio de Janeiro, Manila, and Nairobi. Over 250,000 teenagers organized all over New York City, and at the forefront of these protests were young women.
Young women, particularly teens, have been leading the fight for action against global warming and climate change. Between organizing city-wide protests, leading school strikes, and directly addressing lawmakers, young women all over the world are ensuring their voices are heard.
One teen that has been the face of the climate action movement is Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden who once skipped school to press for solutions at the steps of the Swedish parliament. Her persistent protests and social media outcries have earned her a spot as a pioneer in the movement. Given how often protestors claim her as inspiration, she has been credited with mobilizing her generation to demand better for their future.
While climate change is set to affect everyone in the younger generations, women are at a heightened risk for its impact. Global warming will harm underprivileged communities with already-limited access to resources, including poor women and children. Climate change is considered the “greatest threat to human rights in the 21st century,” according to the former United Commissioner for Human Rights. And yet, women’s input and proposed solutions continue to be ignored.
This is what makes young women’s roles in the climate action movement so significant. The same women who will carry the burden of climate change are doing everything they can to protect their futures.
Three days after the climate strikes, Thunberg addressed several UN leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit. In a passionate speech that resonated with many, she urged global policymakers to recognize the real threat of climate change and take immediate action.
“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight?” she preached.