At TreeSisters, we recognise that climate change is not gender-neutral. Women and girls experience the most significant impacts of climate change, and gender equality is critical to climate action. That's why from our roots to our projects, through to our team and leadership, TreeSisters has women at its core. While we celebrate incredible women this and every month, this International Women's Day, we are celebrating, counting down, sharing and spotlighting just some of the amazing women who inspire us.
Below, three of the TreeSisters team share in their own words who is inspiring them today.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
Nominated by: Kirsten Smith, Marketing Manager
“Without traditional knowledge, there is no climate change solution.”
My personal International Women’s Day (IWD) inspiration is Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim.
Hindou is an Indigenous environmental activist who has dedicated her life to empowering Indigenous voices—particularly those of women—to make decisions on planning for a future of climate adaptation and mitigation.
Among many positions and accolades, Hindou is a Coordinator of the Indigenous women and peoples association of Chad and Co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change. In 2019, she received the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award and was appointed a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate.
Hindou advocates for greater inclusion of indigenous people and their knowledge and traditions in the global movement to fight the effects of climate change. She states that while indigenous communities are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, they can also offer solutions. Their traditional knowledge is the key to helping not only the world's indigenous peoples but all of humanity adapt and mitigate climate change. She proposes that by combining this traditional knowledge with the latest science and technology and by grounding innovation in nature, we have the greatest chance to meet ambitious carbon targets.
Hindou is my 2023 IWD hero because when our differences feel so immense, and we have become so removed from nature and our roots, she successfully bridges the gap between cutting-edge science and technology and rich traditional culture and knowledge. Hindou shows that not only is it possible to combine these approaches, but it is only through inclusion, listening and adapting our way of living that we can begin to live harmoniously with our environment and each other.
Nominated by: Madeleine Scordellis, Tree Partnership Manager
My personal International Women’s Day (IWD) inspiration is Teresa Gitonga.
Teresa Gitonga previously managed the ITF Kenya project that TreeSisters supports and led their women's empowerment activities.
Teresa now works for One Tree Planted whilst also spending her weekends empowering people through her new initiative Homegrown Sustainability Solutions, around lifting up traditional ecological knowledge in forest areas in Kenya.
She is a phenomenal inspiration in the way that she is able to create women’s empowerment activities that truly listen to the women and support them to discover their potential.
Nominated by: Suzi Steer, Education & Alliances Manager
My personal International Women’s Day (IWD) inspiration is Myra Jackson.
Myra Jackson's web of brilliance sees her rise in key nodal points where the voice of the Earth needs her golden representation. A focal lead for the UN Harmony with Nature Program, the Earth Law Centre and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Founding wisdom council member of the Gaiafield Project and Subtle Activism Network, Senior Advisor on Whole Earth Civics and visiting instructor at Colorado College on Sustainability in the Anthropocene.
Myra grew up in San Diago and studied to become an Electrical Engineer going on to work on city-wide water systems. She founded and coordinated the Global Fresh Waters Summit due to direct listening to the Mississippi waters. Myra facilitates many multi-stakeholder bilateral diplomatic forums to support the representation of NGOs, communities and a wide range of experts and synthesise their combined wisdom. She also helps young and old academics to galvanise their research around the Rights of Nature and individual and collective well-being.
These titles and credits are not what prompts me to celebrate Myra Jackson for Women's Day. It is the deep listening and accuracy she brings into these spaces that these positions allow her to hold. She has strategically facilitated genuine progress on behalf of life to advance on a planetary level.
Myra Jackson was given the title "Diplomat of the Biosphere" by the Stockholm Centre. It's valid. When she speaks, it is like liquid gold poetry of the Earth's voice. Her presence supports the coherence within individuals to arise in collective action on behalf of life.