Environmental degradation and unsustainable natural resource management constitute an enormous global challenge. It strongly affects the vulnerable groups in developing countries. The effects of climate change are not gender neutral. Women constitute one of the most vulnerable group that suffer in particular from these effects and from the repercussions of climate change. The growing commitment to sustainability has increased the demand for green products and services.
Green economies are defined as economies that result in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
The green economy and green growth are both perceived as potential solutions to address both the current economic crisis and environmental damage. Connected to both is the issue of employment, specifically the creation of ‘green jobs’. The number of green jobs is currently on the rise and it will be the economic driver for years to come.
Transitioning to low-carbon economies will require large investments in new technologies, equipment, and infrastructure that will generate millions jobs. It is estimated 20 million jobs by 2030 in the renewable energy sector alone. Recycling and green processing of a variety of materials –metals, paper, textiles and plastic– will employ millions of people worldwide. Green jobs will be created in resource-based sectors including agriculture, fisheries and forestry, particularly in developing countries. Bio-diversity businesses will use the products and services provided by nature to provide employment in, for example, organic agriculture, non-timber forest products, and eco-tourism. Despite the great potential that presents the green economy today, the gender dimension in the sector is still missing. The green jobs are male-dominated in all countries. In general, the rate of women entrepreneurs is low, even in the green economy. Women’s potential contributions to small and medium green enterprises and climate investments have largely been overlooked, partly due to discrimination that limits women’s access to policymaking, finance, credit, information and quality jobs with equal pay.
Many studies demonstrate that women could be a great potential and the driving forces for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Some studies explain that women are better at social innovation. Women entrepreneurs are demonstrating innovation, creativity, and economic value and one of the main key of green economy is innovation. Women are also more than half of the working power and economically speaking made 90% of the market choices.
Contributions of women to new ‘green’ economic activities are essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and responding to global and local environmental threats. Promoting gender equality and equity contributes to greater economic prosperity. Thus, in order to increase economic growth and reduce poverty, a Green Economy should include and promote equal gender rights and foster the empowerment of women with social innovation.@