In the wake of the presidential election, tens of thousands of women around the country have pledged to run for office. This surge has the potential to achieve victories not only for equality, but for the environment too.
That’s the message conveyed by a new report from Rachel’s Network, When Women Lead.
Using 2006-2015 data from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Environmental Scorecard, Rachel’s Network found that women federal legislators vote for environmental protections more often than their male counterparts in both the House and Senate.
These are women like Representative Linda Sánchez (D- CA), who in 2015 proposed a bipartisan bill to promote energy efficiency, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) who has a long record of supporting renewable energy, conservation, and STEM education programs.
Women’s average environmental score in the House of Representatives over the 10-year period studied was 69 (of 100) compared to men’s 45. In the Senate, women scored an average of 71 to men’s 48.
“These numbers bolster the data Rachel’s Network has previously reported going back to 1983. Time and again the implications are clear: if you care about the environment, you must elect more women to office,” said Rachel’s Network Board Chair Kef Kasdin.
Climate change, pollution, food and energy insecurity, chemical safety, and biodiversity loss have become urgent global concerns that threaten lives and livelihoods in the US. With women representing only 20 percent of Congress, our ability to address these problems is severely hampered.
“From Washington to communities all across the country, female leaders are working to build a better future for our children and grandchildren in the face of climate change. Putting more women in charge will mean more votes for clean air, safe drinking water and a healthier tomorrow,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund.
“We need women in the sciences, in the arts, in political office and in leadership positions to ensure the protection of America’s greatest treasures, the wildlife and special landscapes that define its natural heritage, for future generations,” added Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.
On the heels of the report’s release, Rachel’s Network and the League of Conservation Voters are thrilled to partner with EMILY’s List and others to host a women candidates training on April 30 in Washington, DC following the People’s Climate March. Hundreds of women environmental leaders are expected to attend to learn how to run for office in their communities.
“We know that the climate movement is full of women leaders at every level, and as more women take on positions of leadership we look forward to strong outcomes for climate justice!” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, an organizer of the March.