UN women's event photo
A special event at the November 2016 UN climate change conference in Marrakech highlighted women’s leadership in addressing climate change. (Photo credit: UN Climate Change / Flickr)

People worried about global warming often want their leaders to enact ambitious climate policies. A recent study suggests that electing female politicians can help make that happen.

Astghik Mavisakalyan is an economics professor at Australia’s Curtin University. She and a colleague examined the legislatures of 91 countries. They compared the percentage of seats held by women to the rigor of each country’s climate policies.

“We found that female representation in national parliaments does lead countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies,” she says.

The researchers say it’s not just because countries that elect more women also happen to support more environmental protection.

In their analysis, they considered all kinds of factors, including the country’s GDP per capita, education levels, and overall political orientation. They found that none of these other factors could fully explain the link between female leadership and climate policies.

More research is needed to better understand the connection. But based on the data, Mavisakalyan says it seems possible “that climate change campaigns may actually succeed more in places where there are more females in political power.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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