In line with the UNEP-IPEN partnership, the aim of this report is to show the impact chemicals have on women as a vulnerable group highly exposed to hazardous chemicals and gender inequalities related to decision-making around the management of chemicals and waste. The report also means to provide concrete steps that can be taken to safeguard the health of women and empower women in decision-making and in their roles as agents of change.
My name is Ghislaine TCHOKOUATOU, and I hold a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur in Accounting and Business Management. In 2013, I became interested in environmental causes and began working with the Cameroonian non-governmental organization Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement (JVE). For several years, they have been carrying out awareness-raising, education and advocacy campaigns to limit the aggravating actions of climate dysfunction in Cameroon and beyond.
On 28 September, 2023, 17 members of IPEN’s Women’s Caucus joined together in Bonn, Germany, during the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), Fifth Meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5). The meeting was facilitated by IPEN Women Caucus co-chair Olga Speranskaya.
Chemicals are common ingredients in most of the products we consume, they are used from the production stage, they last throughout the use of products, and once disposed, they can remain in the environment long after, if not forever.
Empowering women in the fight to eliminate toxic chemicals
Thursday, 14 September 2023
By Yuyun Ismawati
In 2019, during the week of the 78th independence of Indonesia, in mid-August the media covered various stories about the worst air pollution in the capital, Jakarta. The authorities tried to answer the questions with empty promises and mismatched solutions.
Chalani Rubesinghe is the Project Planning and Management Officer at the Center for Environmental Justice in Sri Lanka. She completed her Masters degree in environmental science and is author of "Save Environment, Save the Planet."
I have been working on the impact of chemicals exposure on women’s health ever since I joined the Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka in 2012. Starting as an environmental officer through my journey to project planning and management officer, I have worked with IPEN on various initiatives.
In 2022, IPEN published a report titled “Women Leaders: Addressing Chemicals and Waste Issues” showcasing women leaders' stories working at diﬀerent levels to strengthen protections against harmful chemicals. We are now hosting a webinar to learn from these inspiring women and support their critical work toward achieving the SDGs. This webinar aims to provide a platform for women leaders to share their experiences and insights on addressing chemicals and waste issues and to provide practical strategies and tools for women to take action in their communities and organizations. By highlighting the critical role of women in addressing these challenges, we aim to inspire and empower women worldwide to take action for a more sustainable future.
People of all gender identities must have the same rights and opportunities to participate fully in their communities, free from the health threats posed by toxic chemicals. It is especially important to understand the factors that put women at risk from chemical health threats.
Gothenburg, Sweden A new educational series will focus on the specific risks women face when exposed to toxic chemicals. The goal of the free, online course is to educate the public at large and to build a broad, woman-led leadership for addressing issues related to toxic chemical exposure. The first in the nine-part series will be available beginning 18 October 2021 and can be accessed at https://ipen.teachable.com.
Sara Brosché, author of Women, Chemicals, and the SDGs, released in 2021, said: “Women are disproportionally impacted by exposure to chemicals and wastes, but they are under-represented when decisions about chemical use and disposal are being made. At the same time, it is women who often become the key agents for change in their communities. In developing this educational program, International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) hopes to encourage women to play a greater role in deciding when and how toxic chemicals are manufactured, used, and disposed of – at the community level as well as at national and international levels.”
IPEN Participating Organization HEAL has helped establish FREIA, a new EU research project developing Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC) testing methods specifically focused on those EDCs that affect female reproductive health.