Do we think that women have equal rights as men do? We may think that it’s time we do, but the reality is that women are still treated less equally than men around the world. That’s exactly why we’re celebrating women who’ve made it to the top of the slippery ladder by making sustainability a priority. Like all people, particularly women and minorities, these women most likely started with lower level positions and worked their way to the top. They come from all different backgrounds, races, religions and sizes. The one thing they have in common – being women – is that they’ve had to make compromises along the way, sometimes including family and friends. The journey is long but the road is also paved with the fruits of their labor.
Ms. Thunberg comes to mind immediately. Although she’s still young, she has already had to face the scrutiny of the media, and men on the other side of the climate change debacle. At 16 she was heard around the world protesting the violation of the planet by corporate interests. She continues to make a lasting impression on all of us with her strident yet accurate statements about the state of affairs and what we need to do to change it.
The Congresswoman from the Bronx known to many as AOC is the most vocal champion of the Green New Deal, a federal policy resolution for the decarbonization of the United States.The plan could create millions of high-paying jobs while advancing America’s clean air, clean water and social equity issues. AOC continues to be a force of nature in the areas of women’s rights and sustainability, among others.
(Head of energy strategy, global infrastructure; Google)
When it comes to clean energy, Google is gigawatts ahead of most companies. According to a recent study, it has signed contracts for an estimated 3 GW, compared with about 2 GW for Facebook and 1 GW for the likes of Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.
Neha Palmer, the lead strategist for the tech giant’s energy team, is an engineer with two decades of industry experience. She started her career at utility Pacific Gas & Electric and also as an investment banker focused on electric utilities. Palmer’s team leads an expert group of scientists and engineers to help solve the issues of energy exchange.
As executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010 to 2016, Figueres was instrumental in leading the negotiations that led to the unanimous acceptance of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Although America pulled out of the deal, Ms. Figueres is still involved in the movement, looking to drive changes in energy, infrastructure, industry, finance and transportation by next year.
These are only four women in the world of sustainability who are making a difference; there are many more, too many to name. Women are driven by their need to nurture, plant, grow, give birth to, create and persevere as we’ve done since the beginning of human existence. When it comes to nature and nurture, women can be fierce in protecting what matters to them. They don’t call them “she-roes” for no reason. Women are now at the forefront of most of the major movements that involve the evolution of the planet, including all living things. We celebrate women in business who put people first, profit second, and who continue to fight for their children’s future.