Want to see stronger climate change policies? Elect more women as lawmakers
Despite the denial of the misinformed and delayed actions of politicians, climate change is the story of our time. Every reputable scientific organization on the planet agrees. Every signatory to the historic Paris Accord, which is basically every single one of the world's countries, agrees. Even the U.S. government agrees, with official government climate change reports totally contradicting what the president says and tweets. If we fail to address the very real threats climate change poses to life on our planet, it will be to our peril.
So what do we do about the fact that he leaders of the world are failing to address climate change in a meaningful and effective manner? According to a study out of Australia's Curtin University, there is one promising solution—elect more women into office.
The study, which examined the legislatures of 91 countries, found that the more women a country has in lawmaking positions, the more stringent the country's climate change policies are. Conducted by economics professors Astghik Mavisakalyan and Yashar Tarverdi, the study included many different factors, including GDP per capita, education statistics, and the political orientation of each country. According to the study authors, none of these factors could explain the link between greater female leadership and stronger climate policies.
In fact, their findings indicate that "this relationship is likely to be causal." In other words, it appears that placing women in positions of power may lead directly to stricter climate change legislation. And that relationship has real world impact as well. The study shows that "through its effect on the stringency of climate change policies, the representation of females in parliament results in lower carbon dioxide emissions."
We've seen how women of all ages are leading the charge when it comes to climate change. From the mighty teen Greta Thunberg to the mighty elder Jane Fonda, the health and future of our planet is in strong female hands. But to make a difference in the halls of government, where earth-saving regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels takes place, we need more women in positions of direct lawmaking influence. It's not enough to have women raising their voices—we also need them taking seats in legislative bodies.
Considering the fact that women are more directly impacted by the effects of climate change, perhaps the findings of this study are not surprising. Add in the fact that women statistically make better leaders than men, and it makes sense that female lawmakers would be more likely to lead the way on the world's most pressing challenge.
Naturally, battling climate change is not as simple as electing more women, and there is certainly debate to be had on how best to mitigate the climate crisis. But it's not debatable that immediate action is vital for the well-being of our planet and every living thing on it. It's now clear that women take fiercer action on climate change when they are elected, and it's been proven that women win elections when they run. So this seems like a no brainer.
Let's get more women on the ballot and elect more of them to office. The future of our planet might literally depend on it.