A new BIC statement explores how the principle of gender equality will need to be woven into processes of governance for effective responses to the climate crisis.

BIC New York: Equality of women and men necessary for response to climate crises

February 16, 2022

BIC NEW YORK — A new statement by the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) proposes that the principle of equality of women and men will need to be intentionally woven into the processes of governance for fostering resilience in the face of the climate crisis.

“There have been many moments during the pandemic and in the wake of recent climate-induced disasters when humanity has shown its ability to come together. What these moments have shown is how essential a culture of equality is to an effective response,” says Saphira Rameshfar, a representative of the BIC.

The BIC statement provides some examples of the efforts of the global Bahá’í community to breaking down barriers to women’s participation in community life and responses to crises. The BIC states: “Through moral educational programs, attitudes of unity and fellowship are instilled from a young age so that participants come to view each other as valued allies working for the well-being of their communities.”

The statement is part of the contribution of the BIC to the 66th session of the United Nations’ (UN) Commission on the Status of Women, which will be held in March. The Commission is the UN’s principal annual global forum for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It promotes women’s rights and shapes global standards for equality.

Titled “The Heart of Resilience: The Climate Crisis as a Catalyst for a Culture of Equality,” the BIC statement highlights the need for greater participation of women in the processes of governance, economics, education, and society, and explores how, amid mounting climate risks, “it is becoming clearer how much humanity benefits when women’s leadership is embraced and promoted at every level of society...”

Shown here are different forums hosted by Bahá’í communities around the world addressing the principles of consultation and gender equality.

The statement reads, in part: “Recognition that a multiplicity of perspectives is a prerequisite for effective investigation into the challenges of society will need to characterize every deliberative setting. This would form part of the work of transforming spaces historically dominated by men into inclusive environments where all feel empowered to engage, and where men, motivated by a spirit of understanding, learn to genuinely consult and act in concert with women.”

It is precisely in times of turbulence, the BIC states, when profound opportunities exist to redefine collective values by re-examining the assumptions that underlie them.