• Culture

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023

How climate and gender intersect according to these 3 experts

By Jenny Ringland

International Women’s Day feels a little bit different this year. Instead of corporate breakfasts and cupcakes, there is a shift in the narrative, because if IWD is for all women, why should the celebration be exclusive to those who are in the position to access it?

For us at Green + Simple, IWD has everything to do with demonstrating how women’s rights are inextricably linked with climate change. It’s looking at the fact women are more likely to spearhead climate sustainability focused community movements, while also being the most at risk of the effects of climate change.

In order to understand this more deeply we spoke to three women we admire in sustainability about what IWD means to them and the hope they hold for climate and the future.

Brenna Quinlan, Ethical Illustrator and Permaculture Educator

You might recognise some of Brenna’s ethical illustrations, which generally have a climate or political focus from social media. What sets her apart for us is her brilliantly insightful captions to match the art.

“ A few years ago we were all trying to do it all and show the world what we were made of. There’s still important work to do to bring about climate justice and system change . . . but is it possible to do that work at a sustainable pace,’’ she says.

“My hope is that women support each other to make a difference. We need all women, everywhere, to add their voice to the choir and help turn this ship around.”

Ethical illustrator Brenna Quinlan

Brenna Quinlan

Charlotte Connell, Director of Ecosystems, Climate Salad

You will be hard pressed to find someone as passionate and knowledgeable about climate, technology and Australia’s climate start-up ecosystem than Charlotte Connell. 

“Women are more adversely affected by climate change, 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change are women. Which makes women perfectly positioned to innovate the solutions as they’re most intimate with the problem,’’ she says.

If we are to solve this climate crisis, which I’m optimistic we will, we must build an ecosystem that is diverse, equitable and inclusive because when only one gender or one demographic creates the climate solutions, they’re not solutions for everyone.”

“This is why climate tech isn’t like any other tech sector. Climate tech isn’t just solving customer problems, it’s about solving the biggest challenge of our time, the climate crisis. I’m incredibly proud that within the emerging climate tech sector across Australia, our participation of female founders is world-leading. Almost 40 per cent of our climate tech companies have a female founder.”

Charlotte Connell, director of ecosystems Climate Salad

Charlotte Connell

Sally Giblin, co-founder, Be the Future 

According to Sally, women’s voices, women’s skills, and women’s lived experiences are imperative to helping solve the climate emergency.

“The legacy of women is interwoven throughout the climate movement – even if it’s not always recognised,’’ she says.

“In fact, it was a woman, Eunice Foote, who first discovered the warming potential of greenhouse gases. Not John Tydall – who was credited as the father of modern climate science for 150 years.’’

Sally Giblin, co-founder Be the Future

Sally Giblin



RELATED: 6 inspiring women on equality and climate 


The Green + Simple Newsletter

Sign up for the best of sustainability each week