Like every 8th of March, we rise this year in 2018 with an official theme of ‘Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’. This is a reminder for our movement and people on the original ‘revolutionary’ and ‘left’ origins of women’s day back in the early 1900s (until it became adopted by United Nations in 1975), and the reality of present day where every week we lose a woman environment, human rights defender to ‘development’ ambitions.
In the current climate politics of the world, where we are delaying justice to the most affected communities and negotiations lost in translation, hope and action come from the grassroots women leading the way for a just transition. Attempts of ‘pinkwashing’ by corporations and jargon agencies are trivializing the intent of strong movements by confining women’s roles in climate action to merely ‘cooking stove interventions’ and gender inclusive ‘colours’ or ‘text’, whereas the demands for real solutions are sidelined.
So what are we talking about when we talk about a ‘gender just’ climate agreement this Women’s Day – ensure just and equitable transition of the economy and employment that safeguards environment, thus truly transforming women’s lives. As we progress into the UNFCCC intersessionals in May, women and gender movements urge governments to take action and honor their promise for gender equality.
To be fair and equitable, this transition must also challenge the gendered-division of labour, which places women in often low waged, insecure and informal subsistence and service industries. This just and equitable transition should challenge the foundations of paid labour so that both paid and unpaid care and domestic work, mostly assumed by women, is valued and redistributed.
The climate crisis persists when private interests and profits matter more than the respect of human rights or the conservation of the Earth and the environment. We need energy and resource democracy, where local people, particularly women, are able to make decisions over the use of local resources and the best way to fulfil their needs. The fight against climate change cannot be impeded by commercial interests.
Women’s rights are human rights. Without safeguarding the climate agenda and agreements within the human rights charter and progressing on the commitment towards Loss and Damages, we will continue to fail the activists losing their communities and lives to the crisis.
So this year when we rise, let it be in remembrance of everyone who has risked, fought and lost their lives to keep us moving forward towards a just world that ensures a fair future for all.
 Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development’s Feminist Fossil Fuel Free Future (5F) vision statement