The United Nations-backed International Women’s Day 2016 was celebrated on March 8th, but there’s more to it than just paying lip service to the history of women making change in the world. It’s a day to consider what women can do going forward, to make a positive impact on society and the planet. This year’s theme was “Planet 50-50 by 2030”, with more than 40 countries participating in events and celebrations aimed at achieving equality on our planet and examining how that will help with global sustainability goals. The current goals fit in with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In fact, International Women’s Day is a fantastic time to think about sustainability — women have historically been and are currently major proponents of conservation and practicing eco-friendly living. Investing in women around the world and contributing to the projects they’re heading up are both great ways of showing your support for the preservation of our planet.
Read women’s writing on sustainability
The simplest thing you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day in a green way is to pay more attention to the women involved in the sustainability conversation. Find their blogs, read their twitter posts, re-tweet them and amplify their voices. Add your own! Search out women scientists, politicians, and activists who are engaging the public on eco issues, and see what they’re saying. Whether you’re more interested in climate change, sustainable food and farming, corporate responsibility, environmental ethics, or something else, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to find a woman (or lots of women) who are actively involved in it and sharing important information.
Take a risk and make big change
One of the most immediately helpful ways to make change is to invest your money in microfinance loans to women located internationally. You can loan in whatever amount you feel comfortable, and you get the money back eventually (in the vast majority of cases), so it’s even better than donating to charities in many cases. By investing in women entrepreneurs, there is often a much bigger positive impact on the communities they live in. So you’re not just helping one woman get a business off the ground or start an initiative, you’re able to help all the women around her and in many cases, the local environment.
A number of organizations have popped up in the past few years which connect lenders and borrowers directly, allowing you to hand-select the people and initiatives you’d like to help. One of the biggest and best is Kiva, a platform for microloans which is aiming to raise 1 million dollars in loans for women in honor of International Women’s Day this year. It’s a great time to consider investing in women as a way of making change on a local and global level, and with the minimum being within the reach of just about anyone, it’s a great way to get involved.
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Jennie Lyon is a green lifestyle writer and the owner of Sweet Greens, the award-winning green lifestyle blog. She posts on simple, fun ways families can go green together – starting with her own. When she isn’t blogging, you will find her paddleboarding, sailing, beach-combing, camping, or spending time with her amazing husband and 14-year old son.