Why women’s rights and environmental justice?
Around the world, women and girls encounter violations of their right to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment. These violations of basic rights occur due to unequal gender-based power relations that exist across the globe, along with multiple intersecting forms of oppression and discrimination. For example, women are disproportionately affected when they are displaced from their lands as a consequence of large-scale infrastructure, mining or land conversion projects. If they are part of indigenous communities and/or any other socially or politically marginalised group, they have an even higher risk of losing their livelihoods, their homes, and their very lives.
That being said, women play a vital role in managing natural resources and mobilising efforts to preserve access and use of these resources for themselves, their families, and broader communities. Women are key experts in analysing the contexts and problems they face and in coming up with viable, sustainable and innovative environmentally-just proposals and solutions, yet are often ignored and marginalised in key decision-making processes. Furthermore, many women-led groups and organizations that support and advocate for women’s rights and environmental justice are being bypassed by the growing funding streams available for work on environmental sustainability, disaster mitigation, and climate change.
We envision a world where women’s rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment are recognised and respected.
GAGGA sets out to strengthen and unify the capabilities of community-based women’s rights and environmental justice groups and movements so that:
- They have the support and capacities they need to achieve the political agendas they have defined as priority.
- Their work is aligned and building on each other’s strengths.
We believe that women-led community-based organizations (CBOs) are in the best position to propose solutions and alternatives to the problems they face because they know the local landscape, language, culture and challenges of their constituencies. However, they often face limited access to funding and advocacy spaces. That’s where GAGGA comes in.
GAGGA’s network consists of the following actors based in the Global South:
- Women-led CBOs
- National, regional and global environmental justice and women’s funds
- National, regional and global NGOs
As with CBOs or grassroots groups, environmental justice and women’s funds emerge from the movements they seek to support. This means they are well-connected to and have an expert understanding of the needs and opportunities of the communities they serve, and are accountable to them. They also provide grassroots groups with the kind of flexible support and multi-year funding they need to be successful. This is why we believe it’s critical to channel resources through these funds.
In the GAGGA model, funds and NGOs provide women-led CBOs with technical and legal support, thematic expertise and funding, while further enhancing their connections with gender-just environmental movements. All GAGGA actors work together in a multi-level, cross-movement collaboration to strengthen movements, link and learn from each other, and lobby and advocate, with an emphasis on participatory processes and shared leadership.
We provide community-based women’s rights and environmental justice groups with small grants and mutual capacity strengthening through thematic workshops, access to information, and exchanges with other organizations.
Lobby and advocacy
We support each other within the network to lead advocacy work at the local, national and regional levels linked to women’s rights and climate change, the extractives industry, large infrastructure projects and access to and use of natural resources.
We facilitate and participate in linking and learning between women’s rights and environmental justice groups and movements to build knowledge, share strategies and develop and pursue joint lobby and advocacy agendas.