Thousands of bikers took part in the all-women March 12 Pedal for People and Planet bike actions in six Asian countries to celebrate International Women’s Month. The bike actions aimed to raise awareness on climate change and the issues of food and clean energy and highlight the role of women in the fight for climate justice.
The all-women bike actions were held in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
“Climate change is harming food systems in many parts of the world because frequent and more intense climate change-induced droughts, heat waves or flooding are destroying crops and livelihoods. Women bear the brunt of these climate shocks because women provide food for the family and many women depend on natural resources for livelihood. We need urgent actions to strengthen food systems that address social and economic needs of women and communities,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).
According to studies, women around the world are disproportionately affected by climate change. Climate change exacerbates women’s burdens because of gender norms that tie them to domestic care work, such as gathering food, water, and firewood. Women also frequently lose part of their already lower earnings because women’s livelihoods are linked to natural resources that are adversely impacted by climate change.
Despite having vital roles in local food systems as food producers, women remain unable to earn enough to meet their basic needs from health and water to adequate and nutritious food. In many cultures, women ensure the well-being of kin first and often eat last and consume the least. It is estimated that 60 percent of those chronically hungry are women and girls.
In the world’s poorest communities, millions of people suffer from household air pollution due to lack of access to clean energy for cooking. This leads to premature deaths of which 60 percent are women and children.
Forced displacement due to climate change, which has been impacting millions of people around the world, impacts women more than men. It is estimated that 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women, who suffer health risks and disease outbreaks and experience increased gender-based violence.
Nacpil said the social and economic marginalization of women not only exacerbates women’s vulnerability to impacts of the climate crisis, it also undermines climate actions. She called on governments to make a rapid, equitable and just energy transition that meets the needs and upholds the rights of women.
“The world must swiftly phase out fossil fuels and establish 100% renewable energy systems in a way that is equitable and just for women, people and communities,” Nacpil said.
First all-women Pedal for People and Planet bike action
The all-women bike rides opened the 2023 Pedal for People and Planet (PPP) bike action series, an Asia-wide initiative to urge governments and corporations to save the planet from worsening climate crisis and to take urgent, bold, ambitious, just, and equitable climate solutions.
This is the sixth bike action held since 2021. The most recent was held last November as the COP27 climate summit opened in Egypt. Cycling enthusiasts and ordinary people joined climate campaigners in 49 coordinated biking events in nine Asian countries.
This year, more than 50 cycling groups in the Philippines have joined together with climate campaigners to hold all-women bike actions in Quezon City, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bulacan, Atimonan, Camarines Norte and Batangas City. The biggest event was in Quezon city with more than one thousand bikers cycling a 16-km loop from Liwasang Aurora in Quezon Memorial Circle. Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), lead organizer of PPP, partnered with the Quezon City Gender and Development Council, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, The Firefly Brigade, Siklista Pilipino, Pinay Bike Commuter Community, Tropang Women Bikers, Women Bikers for Safe Spaces, 350 Pilipinas, Oxfam, Sanlakas, Oriang, and Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.
In Indonesia, a 10-km bike ride was held in the Sudirman area in Jakarta; in Vietnam, a 17-km bike ride around six historical spots in the West Lake of Hanoi; in Delhi, Mumbai, and Ranchi, a 2-km bike ride organized by domestic workers, the National Hawker Federation (NHF), and All-India Women Hawkers Federation; in Kullu in the Himalayas, a 2-km bike ride participated by women and children; in Lahore, an 8-km bike ride from Cosmo Club to the historic Bagh e Jinnah; and in Kathmandu, a 10-km bike ride from Lalitpur to Kathmandu city center.