Celebrating the diversity of life and the belief that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature are the underlying philosophies of conservationist movements. Conservationism, indeed, derives from the profound self-criticism about the ways in which humanity interacts with other species of our global biodiversity.
Diversity is, however, inherent to the human species as well. Similarly to conservation, the concept of social justice is based on the awareness of the existing inequalities between humans and promotes more equitable relationships among them. Gender equality demands equal opportunities for the male and female part of humanity and yet represents a considerable challenge to most societies and sustainable development.
The International Women’s Day provides an excellent occasion to highlight the tremendous opportunity that conservation offers to build more equitable relationships not only between humanity and the rest of the Earth´s living creatures but also between women and men. In fact, IUCN has spearheaded some of the most ambitious work in the environmental field to ensure that use of natural resources is carried out equitably in terms of gender – through capacity-building, knowledge generation, and policy development.
In order to call the attention of the worldwide conservation community to the input given by women through their socially and environmentally responsible enterprises International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair was opened at the World Conservation Congress organized by IUCN in Barcelona. In 2009, as follow up to the Fair, a Virtual Women Environmental Fair will be opened with the support of IUCN in the form of a website and a blog to make this initiative sustainable in the future and provide these activities with a tool for exchanging experiences, as well as wider access to the public.
The social, economic and environmental values that women entrepreneurs bring to their countries and communities through their green enterprises are in the highlight of today – the International Women’s Day of 2009. These women and their enterprises present models for both women and men about women’s professional and business activities which successfully answered the challenge merging conservation efforts with the firm goal of promoting gender equality and social justice.