From sinking islands to drought-ridden savannas, women bear an outsize burden of the global—warming crisis, largely because of gender inequalities. In many parts of the world, women hold traditional roles as the primary caregivers in families and communities, and, as the main providers of food and fuel, are more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur; the U.N. estimates 80% of those who have been displaced by climate change are women.
Given their position on the front line of the climate-change battle, women are uniquely situated to be agents of change—to help find ways to mitigate the causes of global warming and to adapt to its impacts on the ground. This reality was recognized by the Paris Agreement, which specifically included the global need to further empower women in climate decision-making. Today, across the world, from boardrooms and policy positions to local communities, from science to activism, women everywhere are using their voices to take leadership and call for action on climate change.
TIME has chosen 15 such women to highlight, in profiles spread throughout the rest of this issue.
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