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Leading for the Future: Gender Equality and Climate Change

February 7, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Join the BC Council for International Cooperation during International Development Week for a panel presentation and interactive discussions on the topic of gender and climate change.

Leading for the Future: Gender Equality and Climate Change

February 7, 2019 – Segal Building, SFU Downtown – 6pm-9pm (doors at 6pm, event starts 6:30pm)

*This event has sold out of tickets, but please sign up for the waitlist – we will be actively working to ensure every seat is filled.

Light refreshments will be available

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Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and it is deeply interconnected with other major problems we face as a global society. We face social challenges, such as waves of displacement and migration around the world due to conflict and economic hardship exacerbated by poor environmental conditions. We face acute threats to biodiversity and ecosystems that fundamentally support life on our planet as we know it, as well as pressure on natural resources that power our economies and ways of life.

Through all of these issues, we see a common thread of differentiated impacts for women  – climate change can worsen existing gender-based inequities that keep women impoverished and marginalized.  With increased stresses we see violence against women who are refugees or environmental advocates, as well as economic conditions that leave women in poverty.

At the same time, women are stepping up to lead on climate change issues, and focused efforts to consider gender in climate initiatives are creating new paths to progress. Indigenous women are asserting leadership in their communities as protectors of nature and culture. Young women are showing up and speaking up to push society toward a livable future that they have a direct stake in. Women are stepping forward in all areas, including to support the issues of people who are gender minorities, and men are also supporting initiatives that focus on gender as a way to address some of the worst aspects of climate change impacts.

This event seeks to explore examples of how people of different genders are uniquely and specifically impacted by climate change, as well as the kinds of leadership that is needed to address these interconnected challenges we face as a global society.


Dr. Joanna Ashworth

Dr. Joanna Ashworth is the Director of Professional Programs and Partnerships in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She is also a filmmaker, a researcher and a university educator.  Joanna also teaches the professional Certificate for Dialogue and Civic Engagement at SFU. Her work at SFU and with other organizations involves curriculum design, program planning and dialogue facilitation on public issues. In her early career Joanna was a project officer with the United Nations World Food Programme and has worked in Bolivia and Colombia extensively in community economic development and women’s leadership. Prior to her current role s he was the director of Dialogue Programs at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue for ten years where, among the many public dialogues she has directed, she designed a dialogue on sustainability involving the Dalai Lama and several other Nobel Laureates, a futures dialogue series called Imagine BC, the dialogue programs for the BC ministry responsible for multiculturalism, and a public education series called Engaging Diaspora in Development. She is the director/producer of a new documentary film called Women Bending the Curve on Climate Change. Her current research partnerships explore the diverse yet inter-related themes of Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Communications, and Democratic Teaching and Learning.


Dr. Zafar Adeel

Dr. Zafar Adeel serves as the Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre, and as Professor of Professional Practice at the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He has over 25 years of experience in a broad range of environmental science and policy issues. This includes 18 years of work as a United Nations official, with progressively increasing responsibilities in the field of international development and research. He served as the Director, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) from 2006 to 2016. He also served in a number of international leadership roles: These include chairing a group of over 65 organizations called UN-Water during 2010-2012, and co-chairing the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment team that produced the global desertification synthesis in 2005. Dr. Adeel led the development of a south-south network of scientists working in water-scarce countries, particularly focused on Africa, Middle East and Asia. Through his editorial lead, this network has published eight books in the UNU Desertification Series. Presently, he is the Series Editor for a book series by Springer: “Water Security in a New World.”


Dr. Leila Harris

Dr. Leila Harris has trained as a political and socio-cultural geographer (PhD, University of Minnesota), and her work examines social, cultural and political-economic and equity dimensions of environmental and resource issues. Much of her work has focused on key themes of water politics and governance, political ecology and environmental justice, critical development studies, and intersectional and feminist approaches to nature-society studies. Dr. Harris is Professor, Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability, UBC; Professor Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC; Faculty Associate, UBC Department of Geography, and Co-Director of the Program on Water Governance. During the 2018-2019 year, she is a Wall scholar in residence with the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC. Current projects of the EDGES Research Collaborative (Environment & Development: Gender, Equity and Sustainability Perspectives, www.edges.ubc.ca) include focus on water security and governance, politics and implementation associated with the human right to water, urban water resilience, indigenous water governance, and transforming water governance for equity and sustainability (with past and current projects in Canada, Turkey, Ghana and South Africa).  Her work is informed by feminist political ecology and similar approaches, and she will aim to bring these perspectives to our panel discussion on gender and climate change. 


shḵwen (Ocean Hyland)

shḵwen is a multi disciplinary artist in the fields of painting, jewellery, carving, and weaving. she lives, creates and learns in her traditional territory, on unceded coast salish land. shḵwen is of mixed ancestry; coast salish, polynesian and european. passed down from her maternal grandfather I carry the ancestral name ts’simtelot, which I share with my mother.

shḵwen has studied at both the native education college and at simon fraser university taking hands on programs like the native education college’s north-west coast jewellery arts program (jan 2017-aug 2017) learning about art history and contemporary silver jewellery techniques, and simon fraser university’s language immersion program (sept 2017-current) becoming proficient in the skwxwu7mesh language.

the summer of 2018 shḵwen was hired to create two art installations one at maplewood mudflats (skw’íts’ay) in North Vancouver and the other at noons creek hatchery (saymahmit) in port moody. both installations exploring the connections and the presence of indigenous stewardship since time out of mind to today.

with a growing number of private commissions for shḵwen’s paintings, logo designs, and special projects shḵwen has had the great opportunity to work with and create artwork for people such as, greenpeace canada and uk, indigenous climate action, cedar wood studios, and the kfn enterprises ltd. branching out into her many art practices she also wrote and co-wrote some articles for teen vogue, greenpeace, and asparagus magazine.

shḵwen plans to continue to develop and refine her art practices and solidify her understanding of the skwxwu7mesh language. she hopes to continue working in spaces that nurture and help her grow into her understanding of her place on this earth and to share her growing knowledge with her community.


Sophia Yang

Sophia Yang is a community animator, “fun-cilitator”, and lover of all things green. She was inspired to join the climate action movement at the age of 11 after being inspired by an article interviewing David Suzuki regarding what youth can do to raise awareness about global warming. Sophia is inspired by the ways in which art can contribute to climate story-telling and climate communications, especially in mobilizing young people to take action.

Sophia is currently working as an Urban Forestry Research Assistant at UBC. She is is deeply passionate about ENGO work and public engagement having worked for organizations such as Natural Resources Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, Parks Canada, and UBC Sustainability. Sophia has been the recipient of The Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 twice in 2017 and 2018 for her work in renewable energy and youth engagement. Sophia was a member of the BCCIC Youth Delegation to the United Nations Climate Conference COP 24.


6:00 pm – Doors open (arrive early to claim your ticket)

6:30 pm – Welcome

6:45 pm – Panel Discussion begins

7:45 pm – 15 minute Break

8:00 pm – Discussion tables begin – attendees are invited to have conversations at their tables, and come up with additional questions which will be posted publicly and collected at the end of the event. Some representative questions will be chosen to ask back to the panelists

8:30 pm – Selected questions for the panelists

8:50 pm – Closing words

9:00 pm – Event ends




Segal Building, SFU Downtown
500 Granville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
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