OECD Environment Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies on environmental issues prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal authors are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language English or French with a summary in the other if available.


Women’s leadership in environmental action

Women’s participation in environmental decision-making is important for advancing both gender equality and environmental action. The presence of women in political decision-making is linked to more ambitious climate goals and policies. Women on corporate boards consistently prioritise environmental, social and governance issues, including climate and sustainability. In civil society, women around the world are creating powerful networks to combat environmental degradation and tackle climate-related inequalities. Despite these benefits, significant gender gaps in environmental leadership persist across countries and sectors, with some of the widest occurring in countries especially vulnerable to climate change and where its gender‑differentiated impacts are most acute. This paper reviews existing evidence on women’s environmental leadership in public governance, environmentally-sensitive industries, and civil society, and its impact on environmental outcomes in these sectors. It identifies potential policy actions as well as areas for further data collection and research.


Keywords: gender equality, environmental action, gender environment nexus, environmental sustainability, leadership, women's empowerment, cclimate change
JEL: J18: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics: Public Policy; M51: Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics / Personnel Economics / Personnel Economics: Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions; J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination; Q56: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth; D71: Microeconomics / Analysis of Collective Decision-Making / Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
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