Lisa Reynolds, CEO of the GBCSA, says that when it comes to driving sustainability in business, women must stand up and own this space. The African Development Bank and UN Women held a webinar on “Green Jobs for Women in Africa” as a side-event of the 8th Africa Forum for Sustainable Development in February 2022. The key objective was to discuss challenges and opportunities for women’s participation in the green economy in the next decades in sub-Saharan Africa. The webinar also served to present the findings for the report “Green Jobs for Women in Africa”.

The main conclusion was that women are well positioned in some of the sectors where green jobs will be created. A range of sectors will create green jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, with energy, construction, and agriculture creating the largest number. However, women are underrepresented in the sectors most likely to create higher-end green jobs, like energy, transportation, construction and overrepresented in agriculture, waste management and certain areas of renewable energy, which are likely to create mostly lower-end jobs.

“As governments have recognised in multiple fora, action on climate change must be closely connected with action to address gender inequality. This applies to cities and towns, which are undergoing many transformations: They need to strengthen their resilience to increased extreme weather events, cope with increased migration influx due to natural and man-made crises, and dramatically reduce their emissions and resource use. These transformations can be shaped in a more just, sustainable way with the rights of women and girls at the centre,” Annabel Short, senior advisor, built environment, IHRB, and Dr Ying-Chih Deng-Sommer, sustainable built environment officer, ICLEI write in City Talk, a blog by ICLEI.

They go on to say that the built environment plays a defining role in the lives we live today and the future we create. “From land use to re-development, all stages of the built environment lifecycle still present deep gender disparities. Yet, there are also significant opportunities to harness, as well as work already underway to realise the rights of women and gender minorities.”

As the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls has highlighted, “Women are more harshly affected by land tenure insecurity due to direct and indirect discriminatory laws and practices at the national, community and family level.” In a joint report, UN Women and OHCHR emphasise that “realising women’s land rights is an integral part of the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
On page 11, women in power speak about the x-factor that females bring to the green building industry and on page 49 we celebrate women making waves in the sector.

Advancing women’s priorities can shape the built sector in ways that benefit everyone. This begins with built environment education. And while we are on education, we look at the various sustainable and building awards that recognise talent in our youth (page 46). They are an inspiration to all. Do not miss the report on student accommodation on page 26 and we showcase the new School of Education at UCT on page 42.

On page 36, we unpack Energy Performance Certificates for all to understand the why, the how and the when.

Enjoy this issue!
Alexis Knipe