“We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth, or we’re not going to have a human future at all”– Vandana Shiva
The global contributions in the field of environment and sustainability is replete with examples of great women, who have worked relentlessly in the service of mother Nature.
A webinar was organized by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), in collaboration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on “Women in Renewable Energy & Sustainability,” on Wednesday night.
The webinar, organized to encourage women to be at the forefront in leading positions in the Renewable Energy sector was addressed by Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, Secretary, MNRE. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance and Ms. Susan Ferguson, UN Women’s Country representative for India.
Theme of the webinar:
The webinar featured two panel discussions. The theme for the first panel was “Women Leadership in Renewables: Envisioning a New World.”
The first panel saw the participation of Deputy Director General of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Gauri Singh, the Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Mahua Acharya, the CEO of EESL Convergence, Sullajja Firodia Motwani, and Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of Council on Energy, Environment & Water (CEEW).
The theme for the second panel was “Women Entrepreneurs in RE: A gateway to innovation and economic growth.”
The panellists for the second round of discussion included the Secretary General of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Reema Nanavaty, Meagan Fallone from the Barefoot college, CEO of Frontier Markets, Cecile Martin Phipps, Director Communication and Strategy from ISA, Suhela Khan, UN-Women and CEO of Skill Council for Green Jobs, Praveen Saxena.
The webinar was attended by audiences from around the world to open a consequential dialogue towards bringing more women to the forefront to lead positions in the Renewable Energy sector as well as making entrepreneurial opportunities available to them. The webinar was a part of India’s global advocacy efforts in the role of a Global Theme Champion for the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy which is set to take place in September 2021.
India’s women environmentalists:
There’s no dearth of names, when we talk of the contributions of women environmentalists in nurturing India’s natural resources. Here’s a look at some of these revolutionary women:
An Indian poet and activist, Sugathakumari has been leading environmental and feminist movements in Kerala. Her father’s social activism and nationalistic fervour deeply inspired her. She is the founder secretary of the Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi, an organisation that works for the protection of nature.
She also works for the protection and care of destitute women and the mentally ill.
2.) Vandana Shiva
A Delhi based environmentalist and eco feminist, Vandana Shiva is well known for her proletarian efforts to protect forests, organize women’s networks, and conserve local biodiversity.
A physicist and philosopher of science, she has authored books such as Monocultures of the Mind, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development, Biopiracy and Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. She was identified as an environmental ‘hero’ by the Time Magazine, in 2003.
She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
3.) Sunita Narain
Currently the Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), and publisher of the fortnightly magazine ‘Down To Earth’, Sunita Narain began her work in 1980s.
After the loss of tigers in Sariska, Sunita chaired the Tiger Task Force for conservation in 2005. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change and National Ganga River Basin Authority. In 2005, 2008 and 2009, she featured on the world’s 100 public intellectuals list, by US journal Foreign Policy. She has been conferred the Padma Shri. Her research interests are global democracy (emphasizing on climate change) and local democracy (forest resource management and water related issues).