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Legislation Introduced for Women and Climate Change Act of 2019

March 26, 2019, 2:35 PM HST (Updated March 27, 2019, 10:52 AM)
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Sen. Hirono & Rep. Lee introduced legislation aimed at empowering women through climate change commitments on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Public domain pictures.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, introduced the Women and Climate Change Act of 2019, which would affirm the United States’ commitment to empowering women through economic development planning and international climate change policies. It will also include practices to help communities embark on a path toward clean and sustainable development.

“Far too often, women are left out of the conversation on how to best confront the challenges of climate change and balance our need for environmental health with economic sustainability,” Sen. Hirono said. “The Women and Climate Change Act will affirm the United States’ commitment to dismantling the economic and societal barriers women face while also maintaining our responsibility to combating climate change. We have a global obligation to continue our work toward our goals of expanding opportunities for women as our climate changes.”

“Women make up the majority of the world’s poor and are especially vulnerable to abrupt changes in the environment—yet all too often they are excluded from key policy decisions,” Rep. Lee said. “As climate change worsens, provoking historic droughts, rising sea levels and violent storms, women and girls will bear the brunt of this global crisis. This legislation, the Women and Climate Change Act, encourages approaches to climate change mitigation that uplift, include, and empower women. We need women leaders at the table if we want to effectively alleviate climate change and develop sustainability initiatives. My legislation takes an intersectional approach to the climate crisis and affirms the role of women in the effort to save our planet.”

The Women and Climate Change Act would direct federal agencies to lead the global effort to mitigate the effects of climate change on women and girls around the world by establishing coordinated and comprehensive strategies. More specifically, this legislation establishes a Federal Interagency Working Group on Women and Climate Change within the U.S. Department of State. Members of this working group include, but are not limited to, designees from the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

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The primary duties and responsibilities of the working group include:

  • Developing federal policies and activities related to the effects of climate change on women;
  • Identifying and improving data collection on the impact of climate change on women; and
  • Developing a strategy to prevent and respond to the effects of climate change on women.

Organizations that support the bill include the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Hirono is also an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal, a nonbinding resolution that lays out the goals and projects for a ten-year national mobilization to combat climate change and transition into a sustainable economy and society. The Green New Deal outlines the principles and requirements to guide this mobilization.

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