Women Climate Leaders Making a Difference

Naman Bajaj
March 11, 2024

Women, traditionally seen as caregivers and primary providers of food and fuel, are disproportionately affected by climate change. 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Recognizing this unique impact, the Paris Agreement underscored the need to empower women in climate decision-making. Today, women worldwide and from diverse fields and age groups are stepping up as climate leaders.

Here are a few women climate leaders among the thousands working to combat the global climate crisis:

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT)

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, from Chad's Mbororo pastoralist tribe, champions indigenous peoples' climate change adaptation and mitigation. Time Magazine recognized her as a prominent woman in climate action, and she serves as a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate and Conservation International Senior Indigenous Fellow.

Marina Silva, Environment Minister of Brazil

Marina Silva, Brazil's Environment Minister, hails from an impoverished Amazonian rubber tapping community. She champions environmental activism, including creating sustainable extractive reserves. Despite personal and political challenges, her efforts reduced Amazonian deforestation by 70% during her previous term.

Mia Mottley, Barbados Prime Minister

Barbados' Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, strongly advocates for climate justice. She leads a coalition to reform the financial system for climate investments and envisions a fossil fuel-free Barbados by 2030. Her initiatives focus on ecosystem restoration and antimicrobial resistance.

Heidi Binko, Co-Founder, Just Transition

Heidi Binko, a green energy proponent, co-started the Just Transition Fund in 2015 to aid coal-dependent communities in transitioning to sustainable income sources. She promotes public support for climate solutions by advocating for the equitable distribution of the green economy's economic benefits.

Melanie Nakagawa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Microsoft

Melanie Nakagawa, with a rich sustainability career, now works at Microsoft, aiming to make it carbon-negative by 2030 and erase its historical carbon emissions by 2050. She held pivotal roles in the Biden and Obama administrations, including facilitating the U.S.'s return to the Paris Agreement and integrating climate change into U.S. foreign policy.

Angie Fyfe

As Executive Director of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA, Angie Fyfe helps U.S. local governments tackle climate change and build resilient communities. She expanded ICLEI's network and contributed significantly to the creation of ICLEI's Action Fund, which supports civic organizations in reducing carbon emissions.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme

Tanzanian lawyer and diplomat Elizabeth Mrema has greatly contributed to environmental conservation, notably as the CEO of the Convention on Biological Diversity where she steered the COP 15 biodiversity agreement. She currently co-chairs the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, working with co-chair David Craig to create a framework for businesses and investors to report nature-related risks.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome

With over 30 years in European and international policy focusing on climate change and sustainable development, Sandrine Dixson-Declève co-leads the Club of Rome and advocates for progress beyond GDP. She chairs the European Commission’s Expert Group on Economic and Societal Impact of Research & Innovation and co-founded the Women Enablers Change Agent Network.

Cate Lamb, Global Director of Water Security, CDP

Cate Lamb, the Global Director of Water Security at CDP, emphasized nature-based risk in finance and created a program for financial institutions to monitor water-related data. She advocates for water's role in climate mitigation and advises on water issues at the UNFCCC and Stockholm World Water Week.

Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Ltd (CDL)

With over two decades of experience, Esther An sets global standards for green construction and sustainability in Singapore's real estate sector. She aligned CDL with the Sustainable Development Goals, created the CDL Future Value 2030 blueprint, matching the company's long-term ESG objectives with 10 SDGs, and contributed to various sustainability organizations.


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Naman Bajaj
March 11, 2024


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