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Empowering Female Entrepreneurs: Overcoming Climate Change Challenges

Climate change is an urgent global challenge that demands immediate action. Its impact is felt across various aspects of our lives, from extreme weather events to the depletion of biodiversity and rising sea levels.

17 September 2023

Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola and the Wecyclers. Credit: King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) - Africa program, CC BY 2.0

This article explores the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and highlights their innovative solutions.

Women business owners encounter numerous obstacles that hinder their ability to contribute effectively to climate change mitigation. These challenges are often rooted in societal norms that restrict their access to resources and opportunities, along with gender-based discrimination. Limited access to funding and networks, as well as difficulties in connecting with marketplaces, pose significant hurdles for women entrepreneurs. Additionally, balancing caregiving responsibilities with business obligations can further limit their investment of time and money into their ventures.

Despite the barriers they face, female entrepreneurs worldwide are demonstrating remarkable resilience and creativity in addressing climate change. Let's explore some inspiring examples:

Akira Sakano: In the Japanese municipality of Kamikatsu, Akira Sakano, a female entrepreneur, is leading efforts to achieve zero waste by 2030. Through her social venture, she organizes and repurposes waste from homes and businesses, fostering the production of new goods while reducing trash.

Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola: In Lagos, Nigeria, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola founded a waste management business that collects and recycles garbage, effectively reducing the risk of flooding in the city.

Sahaja Samrudha: Indian women entrepreneurs are actively developing creative solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture. The "Sahaja Samrudha" project supports organic farming methods, helping farmers adapt to the effects of climate change.

Addressing climate change and empowering female entrepreneurs are interlinked goals that rely on inclusive disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). Gender-responsive DRRM policies ensure that women and other vulnerable groups are included in disaster preparation and response, accounting for their unique needs and experiences. Inclusive DRRM can provide women entrepreneurs with access to funding and tools to develop groundbreaking climate change solutions. Furthermore, it strengthens their resilience in the face of climate change impacts, enabling them to thrive despite new challenges. Inclusive DRRM practices also acknowledge and incorporate the caregiving obligations of women, ensuring they are not excluded from decision-making processes.

To fully harness the potential of female entrepreneurs in combating climate change, it is essential to dismantle institutional constraints that limit their access to resources and opportunities. This requires a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the distinct requirements and experiences of women entrepreneurs.

Research shows that female entrepreneurs face significant challenges in securing funding for their ventures. Addressing gender-based prejudice and discrimination in the investment industry, as well as providing targeted initiatives for women entrepreneurs, can improve their access to financial support and assistance.

Overcoming the prejudices and gendered norms that hinder women from working in male-dominated fields is crucial. Education and awareness-raising initiatives play a vital role in dispelling myths and promoting gender parity across all sectors. By removing these obstacles, we can foster a diverse and sustainable business environment, empowering women entrepreneurs to contribute fully to the fight against climate change.

Women entrepreneurs, often working in industries significantly affected by climate change, face heightened vulnerability to its impacts. Supporting resilience and encouraging adaptation among women entrepreneurs can help them endure the effects of climate change and continue making meaningful contributions to sustainable development. By providing resources and support to enhance their resilience, we enable women entrepreneurs to navigate the challenges posed by climate change and drive positive change in their industries.

It is crucial to ensure that disaster risk reduction and management initiatives effectively incorporate women entrepreneurs. Disasters disproportionately affect women, who often struggle to access resources, information, and services during and after such events. By including women entrepreneurs in disaster preparation and response efforts, their unique needs and experiences can be taken into account. This ensures that they are not left behind in decision-making processes and receive the necessary support to recover and rebuild their businesses.

The contributions of female entrepreneurs are essential in tackling climate change. Women often serve as primary caregivers in their families and communities, and their deep connection with nature positions them as valuable contributors to climate solutions. Their expertise and experiences can greatly inform the development of efficient and sustainable solutions that promote fairness, resilience, and sustainability.

Businesses worldwide must embrace creative solutions to address the challenges posed by climate change. Female entrepreneurs, in particular, face unique obstacles that require a gender-responsive approach. By implementing inclusive disaster risk reduction and management practices and supporting women entrepreneurs through access to funding, breaking gender norms, and fostering resilience, we can create lasting solutions that promote equity, sustainability, and a brighter future for all.

This article has highlighted the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in the face of climate change and showcased inspiring examples of their innovative solutions. By recognizing and addressing the barriers they encounter, we can create an inclusive entrepreneurial environment that enables women to fully contribute to the fight against climate change. We can build a resilient and sustainable future for everyone through collective efforts and strategic initiatives.

Photo credit: King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) - Africa program, CC BY 2.0