An inside view of GGO: Rebecca Snyder
Greetings from New York! Having completed my first three weeks as a student in Columbia University’s MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program, I appreciate all I learned during my time as an intern at the Global Gender Office and the important work being carried out by the Gender Team. In a recent environmental policy class, we discussed the common characterization of the environment as an external concept, a “special-interest” apart from the mainstream. It has become increasingly apparent, however, just how deeply environmental issues affect and are effected by all facets of society. This relationship is particularly evident in discussions surrounding gender equality.
Worldwide, women interact with and rely upon the environment in unique ways, making them potential agents of change in a world that has largely neglected or overlooked female voices in environmental decision-making. Some of the statistics born out of the Environment and Gender Index (EGI) are indeed sobering, but the underlying story presented is of the un-tapped potential of marginalized women all over the world to contribute to, while simultaneously being empowered by, environmental action.
Over the course of my internship with GGO, I experienced the ongoing progression in perspectives pertaining to women and the environment. I found, to my surprise, glimmers of growth during my analysis of gender-responsive terminology in National REDD+ Strategies. Tasked with bolstering the GGO’s Knowledge Center, I also had the chance to read about the compelling work conducted all over the world in support of, and by, women in the environmental field. Having helped to coordinate events with UNWomen and a workshop to develop gender-responsive indicators for the Green Climate Fund, I also experienced the formalization of such gains at the highest of levels. I am grateful for these and the many other opportunities afforded to me while at the Global Gender office.
While much remains to be done, I leave with a great deal of optimism particularly when I consider the tenacity, intellect and compassion with which each member of the gender team approaches their work each day.