Europa Nostra puts a spotlight on climate action and gender equality on International Womens’ Day 2024

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, Europa Nostra hosted the fourth edition of its annual #Women4Heritage online event, bringing together over 120 participants to focus on culture and heritage-based climate action through the lens of gender equality.

 

Despite being at the helm of climate action, women are often underrepresented in leadership roles. This inequality not only sidelines half of the global population’s perspectives and experiences but also hampers our collective efforts in addressing climate change. Beyond spotlighting the challenges of a persistent lack of balanced gender representation, our annual #Women4Heritage gatherings strive to amplify the voices and actions of women leading change.

Facilitating the event was Carla Toffolo, Programme Manager of the European Heritage Hub Project within Europa Nostra: “By fostering dialogue and partnerships, we strive to empower women, inspire innovation and advocate for inclusion across the heritage sector.”

Female leadership in climate action

The discussion was timely, closely following the Global Call to Action to put Culture at the Heart of Climate Action, launched by Europa Nostra with a group of partners in November 2023, just over a month before COP 28 in Dubai, UAE. The call built momentum for the launch of the Group of Friends for Culture-based Climate Action at the COP 28.

HRH Princess Dana of Jordan, President of ICOMOS-Jordan and Petra National Trust, and Climate Heritage Network Special Envoy, a leading advocate in the Global Call, addressed the audience: “Without reintegrating care and compassion in the way we tackle climate change we will find ourselves disconnected from reaching people, inspiring creativity, solutions, building adaptive capacity and resilience of communities. Placing culture and heritage at the heart of climate action has been a long time coming, and women have been at the frontline of these actions.

Building on the action at COP 28, Alison Tickell, CEO and Founder of Julie’s Bicycle, called for increased gender balance in an empowering speech: “We must include culture values in the COP climate negotiations and support gender parity for women and girls, crafting and stewarding values of care and nourishment that are so desperately needed. Cultural perspectives, experiences, and solutions led by women are crucial for climate action.”

Alexandra Mitsotaki, Co-Founder and President of the World Human Forum, and NEB High Level Roundtable member, focused on the power of culture to establish a life-affirming civilisation: “The climate crisis is not an isolated issue, it is a mindset issue. Unless we put our values at the centre and remember the importance of resilience and compassion, we will not succeed.”

Lastly, Shiva Dustdar, Dean and Director of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute, stressed the importance of funding for women and introduced the EIB’s Women Climate Leaders Network: “Only 2% of all money supporting companies goes to women leading companies. We must invest in women to accelerate progress (…) With this new project we want to ensure women are more visible and learn how we can do more.”

The event concluded with an open discussion, providing participants the opportunity to exchange knowledge and foster connections for further action.

 

#Women4Heritage, a growing network

Launched by Europa Nostra in 2021, the #Women4Heritage network already counts with over 300 female members. Women from diverse backgrounds within the heritage sector and beyond are invited to join the #Women4Heritage LinkedIn group to engage in forthcoming activities, spark discussions, and drive collective action.

The #Women4Heritage network and related activities are part of Europa Nostra’s network project European Cultural Heritage Agora “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society for Heritage (2022-2024), which is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

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