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CWL at the WOW Festival: The climate crisis is a women's crisis

The WOW Foundation exists to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is desirable, possible and urgently required. This WOW, Connected Women Leaders was invited to participate in a panel on the climate crisis and to share the still-in-progress plans for a global campaign for climate justice led by women — named Project Dandelion. It was encouraging to receive such a warm and enthusiastic reception from the 800 or so women and men who joined us in the majestic Royal Festival Hall.

Connected Women Leaders panel at WOW London. (l-r) Mary Robinson, June Oscar, Pat Mitchell, Jude Kelly (Founder of WOW), Hafsat Abiola, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim and Mikaela Loach.

On stage were CWL Co-Founders Pat Mitchell and Hafsat Abiola, along with other Connected Women Leaders members, including Indigenous rights leader Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim from Chad and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

We were joined by Australia’s powerful Aboriginal leader and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar and well-known UK youth activist and author Mikaela Loach. They both spoke eloquently about the catastrophic changes occurring now due to climate change as well as their leadership initiatives on climate, reminding the audience just how disproportionate the negative impacts of the climate crisis are on women!

We made the first public call to action at WOW and will take our learning from this community as we further shape the Project Dandelion campaign. It is our intention to strengthen climate work currently underway and inspire millions more to embrace the reality of climate justice as an intersectional opportunity to advocate for gender justice, racial justice, indigenous rights justice, economic justice and more.

After our call to action at WOW, Hafsat captured the spirit and summed up our purpose and our plan with a reminder of that great African proverb:

If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.

It was a true WOW moment when the connection was made that this is why we come together as engaged communities of women leaders and male allies — to travel fast when necessary (as it is with this climate emergency) and to travel together — so that the outcome of our work goes further, is fairer and more just.


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