Four things to know about women and the environment

by Anna Claire Croghan, Alyssa Blachez and Kate Van Dermark

“The changing climate further increases disparities as its impacts hit vulnerable populations the hardest. Among those at the frontlines of climate impacts are the bodies, lives and livelihoods of women around the world, particularly rural and indigenous women.”

– Maria Alejandra Rodriguez Acha, Young Feminist Fellow at the Women’s Environment & Development Organization

1. Women are disproportionately affected by climate change.

80% of people displaced by climate change are women.  Women’s roles as primary caregivers make them more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur. Emergency evacuation shelters during extreme situations are often not accommodating to women. When evacuees from Hurricane Katrina were termporarily housed in the Superdome, there weren’t enough sanitary products for the women there.

2. Women are often left out of decision making on environmental issues.

As women are under-represented in governments, international agencies and businesses worldwide, their perspectives are not being heard when it comes to environmental decisions. Society must advocate for the full inclusion of women in decision making processes at all levels, including environmental planning, financing, gender budgeting, and policy-making.

Find out Five ways gender impacts the environment

3. Reproductive justice regularly overlaps with environmental justice.

Pollution, access to clean air and water, and other environmental factors all impact people who are, or hope to become, pregnant. False claims such as oral contraceptives being bad for the environment because they leak damaging hormones into the water (which they do not) can impact women’s ability to have control over their bodies.

Read Environmental Issues are Women’s Issues from the National Women’s Law Center

4. Women bear a disproportional burden of deteriorating water quality and availability.

Women are often responsible for maintaining the sanitation of water sources, as they play a key role in getting and managing fresh water. Water is a prerequisite for gardening, raising livestock and agriculture. Lack of access to water decreases women’s contributions to agricultural production and their business opportunities. (

Read Sida’s whitepaper on Gender and the Environment

Want to know more?

Check out these organisations working on women and the environment.

  • WEDO, which envisions a just world that promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment
  • WEN, The Women’s Environmental Network which is working for environmental justice through feminist principles

Follow on Twitter:

All of our #wcactionchallenge actions in April are focussed on the environment – see how many you can do and share!

April 2018 Chairs’ letter

Hi everyone,

We want to start this month with a massive THANK YOU!  

Whether you are active in a committee, attend our monthly meetings, or skim our newsletter, we are truly grateful for your contributions and participation.  Every day we are inspired by the fantastic work you are doing.

At our March meeting, we learned about some phenomenal women – in “herstory” and today – that have been true fighters in the path to justice.  These breakthrough women, inspired us to launch our vibrant #ActionChallenge. Each month we will provide a list of ways we can all volunteer to and take action!  The best part of it is that it can take at the least 5 minutes and if you want to make a bigger impact, #ActionChallenge — focused on our monthly activism theme — invites you to engage at your pace. Each challenge also has further resources embedded for deeper learning. Share far and wide: hashtag #ActionChallenge and tag us @DAUKWomensCaucus.  Every action together, we become a mighty force.

We also want to thank everyone for coming out to March For Our Lives.  There were over 1000 people at the London march, and it was thrilling that the Women’s Caucus played an active and visible part.

The Caucus is marching right on through this election year. There are only seven months until the Midterms, and we will not skip a beat.  Our monthly theme for April is “The Earth and Our Environment”. At our next meeting on April 18 we will feature the EPA and current legislation, not to be missed.  Throughout the month, we’re also hosting what is sure to be a lively climate change discussion, a political postcard writing party, and a Big Dig volunteer social. If environmental issues are your passion, please get in touch and get involved! We’d love to hear from you and can’t wait to see you!


Lan and Kate

Our #WomanCrushWednesday April spotlight is on Barbara Jordan

This month’s #WomanCrushWednesday winner is member Carol Grose, who shares her memories of Texas Congresswoman and Senator Barbara Jordan.

The summer of the Watergate hearings, my grandmother entertained me by letting me help out in the reception area of the motel where she worked. My favourite task — connecting calls on the switchboard — wasn’t demanding so I watched TV, too.

My family of Strom Thurmond Republicans had firmly supported Nixon’s re-election. They were dismissive of questions surrounding the President, and as a child I assumed there was no other valid perspective. Then, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan spoke in the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Barbara Jordan was the daughter of a Baptist minister in Texas and spoke with the phrasing and nuance of someone brought up reading the King James Bible. Her conviction and logic was about something more profound than being simply “for” or “against”, and threw light on the post school desegregation tensions in my local community.

Barbara Jordan stood for the idea that it is possible to think deeply. She is a reminder that it is possible to live a life of activity and conviction. She went to law school, set up a practice, and campaigned for Kennedy and Johnson.

During her exceptional life, she was elected to the Texas State Legislature and then Congress. She was known for her powerful oratory and retired from Congress in the late 1970s after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She continued to be dedicated to the Constitution and ethics: she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

Who is your most inspiring female hero? Email us at with your name, a photo of your #WCW, and a paragraph or two explaining why she inspires you. We’ll feature her in the next newsletter.

11 ways U.S. expats can help rock the midterms

By Meghan Feeks

It ain’t easy being “blue” these days, but things are definitely looking up. Special and state elections have brought Democrats to power in key states, and the latest polls have Democrats holding a double-digit lead over Republicans for the 2018 midterms.

Also encouraging, a record number of women (mostly Democrats) are running for Congress this year — more than twice as many as in 2016. And having turned out in force to flip GOP seats in recent elections, women are also taking the lead in grassroots movements around the country to engage voters, promote progressive candidates and turn anger into impact when we go to the polls this November.

These gains feel good after more than a year of hard knocks. But with the midterms still several months off, Democrats still have much at stake, and nothing must be taken for granted. The good news is there’s a lot that the 9 million US expats who make up the “51st state” can do to make a difference when America votes this fall. Here are 11 ways we can help:

  1.      Vote — and make sure you register to vote in time. This should be obvious, but the sad fact is, only 12% of Americans abroad vote in presidential elections and even fewer in midterm, state and local elections. Fortunately, it’s now possible for all US citizens to obtain and in many cases submit absentee ballots electronically. But this is important: you need to request one every year. Just because you voted in the 2016 general election, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get your ballot in 2017 and beyond. To register to vote in 2018 online, visit, or access the site through the ‘vote’ menu on the Democrats Abroad website. For more information on voting from overseas, including links to helpful resources, see the State Department’s handy guide.
  2.      Help register fellow expats to vote. Once again, Democrats Abroad is planning voter registration events around the world, but relies on volunteers to give voters the information they need to obtain and submit their ballots. To learn more about becoming a voter registration volunteer, click here or contact your local chapter of Democrats Abroad.
  3.      Vote in the 2018 Democratic primaries. As a registered Democrat, you’re entitled to vote in House and Senate primaries, which will unfold over the coming months. This is a great opportunity to advance Democratic candidates that support your values and have a positive vision for the party’s future. To get the 411 on primaries in the state where you’re registered to vote, check out this overview on
  4.      Support Democratic candidates in key national races. This fall, candidates will compete for all 435 seats in the House and 34 seats in the Senate (23 of which are currently held by Democrats). All these contests are important, and no seat should be considered “safe.” However, the battle for control of Congress will likely boil down to a few key races in the House and Senate. Support Democratic candidates in these elections, regardless of where you’re registered to vote. Visit EMILY’s List to learn more about pro-choice, female candidates, or if you prefer to stick closer to your hometown, visit to find nearby swing districts that need your help most. Pro tip: to maximize your donation’s impact, contribute directly to your favorite candidate’s campaign, rather than through party organizations that support them (Senator Kirsten Gillibrand shared this nugget at a recent fundraiser in London, noting that individual candidates can take out ads for half of what, say, the DCCC would pay).
  5.      Don’t forget state and local elections. Down-ballot, state and local elections may not sound that sexy, but taking a lead from the Tea Party, progressive, grassroots movements are increasingly targeting them to make America bluer from the bottom up. Many states allow US expats to vote in these contests, but even if yours doesn’t, there are still ways you can help. To learn more, check out the Sister District Project,, and To connect with fellow expats from your state, join a Facebook State Group here.
  6.      Ensure all voices are heard. Last year’s elections were good not just for Democrats, but also for diversity: around the country, women, people of color and LGBTQ candidates became the first to win elections in their respective contests. Help our party represent the interests of all its members by supporting candidates with diverse and intersectional profiles.  Click on the links here to learn more about black women, Muslim women, Latinas, Native Americans, LGBTQ candidates and other people of color who are running for office in 2018.
  7.      Engage with voters. So we can’t go from door-to-door, but there are still lots of ways we can engage voters from afar. Volunteer to phone-bank for Democratic candidates, either directly or through grassroots organizations that support them. Postcard campaigns through are another cool and quirky way to connect with fellow Democrats and encourage them to vote. Get your American expat friends on board to have more fun, increase your impact and hold each other accountable.
  8.       Organize or attend a political fundraiser or “action party.” US expats can independently organize political fundraisers or “action parties” to support specific candidates and Democratic organizations. Contact your favorite candidate to coordinate a house party with a video or Skype link, and circulate the appropriate contribution link and compliance form. Note that all expenses must be reported and contributions can only be received from US citizens or permanent residents (it’s the law). For those who wish to contribute their time and energy (either instead of or in addition to a financial donation), set a clear call to action. To stay informed about fundraisers being held in your country, join the Americans Abroad Facebook Group and keep an eye on your local Democrats Abroad newsletter. To hear from Democratic candidates and politicians directly (and at Europe-friendly times), sign up for the fantastic phone-call series organized by fellow expat Mark Bergman.
  9.      Stand for something. Anger with the Trump administration may get people to the polls, but it’s no substitute for a long-term strategy. Call on Democratic officials and candidates to define a clear and positive vision for the party and set concrete policy goals to support it. Do your part to promote this vision in your families, communities and social networks. For every expression of outrage you see or share on social media, post something positive that points to a solution.
  10.  Take action to improve election security and combat fake news. The midterms are under serious threat of foreign interference, but — surprise, surprise — the Trump administration is doing nothing about it. Call on Congress to pass the Election Security Act and demand to know what your elected officials are doing to secure elections in your district. Be on alert for fake news and call out misinformation when you see it. Equally important, support real news by buying a subscription to a reputable news source. Established, big-name outlets such as the Washington Post are always a good bet, but don’t forget about cash-strapped local papers, which play a critical role in holding local governments accountable.
  11.  Share your international perspectives. As an American living abroad, you have a unique point of view. Talk to friends and family members in the US about how the country you live in approaches issues such as healthcare, education, reproductive rights, gun control and family leave. Discuss the implications of US policies outside its borders and how the Trump administration is affecting America’s image in the world. To spread the word further, consider sharing these thoughts in an op-ed in your hometown or college newspaper.  

The midterms are a critical milestone that require our laser focus, but there are plenty of other things US expats can do every day to support our democracy — and they needn’t take much time! For more ideas, sign up for Democrats Abroad’s “Tiny Actions” newsletter, or check out the HuffPost article I wrote on the subject last year. Have more ideas on how to rock the midterms and stay politically active from overseas? Please share in the comments!

Meghan Feeks 

Meghan Feeks is living in London and loving it, but always a New Yorker at heart. Communicator by day, writer by night, tango dancer by midnight.

WINNER of the SPOTLIGHT “Inspiring Women” Monthly Contest!


Member Kate Van Dermark is the winner of March engagement! Read her submission below and remember to submit yours at (please click here for details) for a chance to be April’s winner!

Maya Angelou (by Kate Van Dermark)

Image uploaded from iOSShe lived a life full of adventure and learning, activism and passion. She was a streetcar conductor, actor, singer, dancer, playwright, director, producer, journalist, writer, speaker, activist, and poet. She travelled the world. She spoke 6 languages. She was told she cannot achieve, and she laughed in the face of failure. When she was attacked by her mother’s boyfriend at 8 years old, she refused to be subdued. She was a voracious reader, and a virtuoso poet. She embodied grace and hope, full of inspiration and ambition. Maya Angelou is a true inspiration.

And that is what she instilled in me, when at 8 years old, I had the privilege of seeing her speak. She planted the seeds of learning and adventure, aspiration and hope. As I grew, so did my admiration. I read her books and poems, marvelled at her on the national stage, and watched her make history. I came to respect her struggle and perseverance, admire her grace and strength. And when she passed away in 2014, I felt the immensity of her contribution, the light of her wisdom, and the endurance of her spirit. She is an American hero.

You can see a glimmer of her radiance here, as she reads her famous poem, “Still I Rise”: v=JqOqo50LSZ0.

Contest details:

Participate in the April competition for Women’s History Month/Herstory Month! Email us at with your name, a photo of your #WCW, and a paragraph or two explaining why she inspires you.

Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 pm GMT on Friday 23 March. The April prize is a free Women’s Caucus t-shirt! We look forward to reading all about your inspirations!

Courage, strength and leadership – Take our Black Women in the US quiz

Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation. – Coretta Scott King

How much do you know about the achievements of black women throughout our history?

At February’s DAUK Women’s Caucus meeting, Black Caucus members Adrienne Johnson and Patricia Hamzahee showed us that as we organize against misogynistic, racist and homophobic policies, we must remember that for black women, this is not a new fight.

US Black History Month gives us a chance learn from black women’s struggles, and take inspiration for our own. It’s not only an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of African Americans that have been written out of the history books. But it is also a reminder that many black women were not just the first African Americans to open doors, but often the first women to open those same doors, or the first LGBT Americans to open those doors, too.

“We all rise together” – with that message Johnson and Hamzahee reminded us of the debt we owe to so many women of colour for making the way easier for us, no matter who we are. They introduced us to women who found strength in different aspects of their identity. Yet many remain hidden figures of history.

But we want to change that, so we’ve put together a quiz made up of just a few amazing black women who have opened doors, broken boundaries and smashed glass ceilings.

Take the Courage, strength and leadership: Black Women in the US quiz

Want to know about these amazing women? Read Adrienne Johnson and Patricia Hamzahee’s presentation for US Black History month

Read Patricia Hamzahee’s blog Too Many Hidden Figures: Why Black History must be taught everyday, not one month a year

Four black women came together and created this database of Black Women in Politics — check it out and be inspired.

SPOTLIGHT “Inspiring Women” —-> Win a Prize!

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you will have noticed that particularly on Wednesdays, we use the #WCW hashtag. #WCW = Woman Crush Wednesday.

We are continuing our monthly membership engagement drive through which you can tell us about the Democratic and/or activist women who inspire you and why. Each month through the November midterms, the Media and Communications Committee will select the best submission and that member will win a prize and have their submission featured in the monthly newsletter. All other submissions will feature in our social media accounts throughout the month.

Participate in the April competition for Women’s History Month/Herstory Month! Email us at with your name, a photo of your #WCW, and a paragraph or two explaining why she inspires you.

Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 pm GMT on Friday 23 March. The April prize free copy of the month’s book club pick! We look forward to reading all about your inspirations!

A Call To Action

By by Kate Van Dermark

The marches were electric. The energy was palpable. In 2017, and again in 2018, women united on the weekend of Jan 21 in solidarity to oppose the current administration, the injustices it has invoked, and the bigotry it has evoked.

Here in London, DAUK Women’s Caucus organized the March to the Ballot Activist Faire and the Women’s March in London organized a second march to commemorate, celebrate, and reinvigorate our efforts as we stride into this midterm election year. As it was around the world, here too we felt the enthusiasm, power, and collective strength of women when we say en masse Time’s Up, MeToo, and no more- to the prejudice, selfishness, and erosion of democracy that is a mainstay of this government and its emissaries.

Last year, women demanded our voices be heard- and they were. We made 86% of all calls to federal representatives, and as a result we won 6 democratic seats, stayed the travel ban, supported ACA and the dreamers, and blocked the ban on abortion.
Our own co-Chair, Lan Wu, led a powerful and impassioned speech at the Women’s March and the resounding cheers from the crowd echoed her sentiment that democratic achievements in 2017 are due to the dedication, commitment, and perseverance of women.

And the victories of women don’t stop there. When African American women in Alabama mobilized, they put Doug Jones and the Democratic Party in an important seat in the senate. When Andrea Jenkins took office as Minneapolis City Councilory, she became America’s first openly transgender woman of color to be elected office. When Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi founded Black Lives Matter, they created a movement that would help to galvanize communities to work toward ending the systemic oppression and violence against black people. Yes women, notably, women of color, continue to show up for our country, and it’s high time we show up for them.

Within the Women’s Movement, we often hear calls for unity among women asking us to lay down our identities and find solidarity in our shared creed: we have more in common than we do not. This is motivated by a genuine hope to look to the future and move forward in solidarity.
So what can we do now? How do we move forward in unity, working together for a fairer and more just society?

Here’s where we start:
1. Celebrate our history.
Any good historian will tell you, the past is where we find the future. We start with our history. The only way to move forward is to start by knowing and recognizing our shared history. That means recognizing beginning of the modern Women’s Marches is The Million Woman March in 1997 organized by Phile Chionesu; recognizing the #MeToo movement began twelve years ago when Tarana Burke carved a space for survivors to share experiences of sexual assault; recognizing that intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 as a lens to understand compounded oppression based on identity, rather than as a replacement for the words “inclusive” and “diverse”.
When we do not know our history, we forget it. And when we forget it, we erase it.

2. Admit where we are.
We live in the Information Age. We can’t know it all nor are we expected to. We cannot read every book or know every theory. However, we are responsible for educating ourselves and for embarking on that journey. We are responsible for understanding the systems in which we live. We are responsible for understanding how we benefit from those systems and what role we play in them- consciously and not. We are responsible for seeing ourselves, actions, and our positions. And we are responsible for challenging the assumptions we hold about ourselves and each other.

In other words, challenge yourself. Seek knowledge. Educate. Repeat. The Women’s Caucus will be participating in Black History month in February and Herstory in March at our meetings and on social media. We hope this will serve you in this endeavor.

3. Step up and step back.
And I don’t mean wear a safety pin. Do the real work it takes to challenge culture. Change doesn’t just happen in the political arena. It happens in our daily lives. Be courageous, confront the microagressions, the exclusive language, the jokes, the culture. It’s not easy and is almost always “just a joke” or a well-intended gesture. But address the injustices you see, and do it in a meaningful way. One way to do that is to step back. Yield your platform to someone else’s voice. Yield your ‘right of way’. Listen to the stories, the opinions, the suggestions of women of color, of differently abled women, of LGBTQ women. Elect and follow them. Amplify their voices, their plans, their ideas. Support them by standing with them and silencing yourself.

4. Engage in political reform.
Criminal justice, environmental justice, military industrial complex, affordable healthcare, education, housing, gender disparity, family leave, voter suppression, gerrymandering, etc. We all have our different interests. Choose yours and “tuck in.” Women’s Caucus would love to have you. Have an idea for something we can do? We want to know! As we have seen this year, your contribution, your time, your voice is valuable. You can make a difference. And when you feel worn out, don’t despair or disappear. Political burnout is a real thing, and a support network like Women’s Caucus is great for rejuvenating your spirits, maintaining your drive, and meeting awesome women who will inspire you.

5. Talk to your people.
Whoever they may be. Your family, your friends, your work colleagues. We have power in our spheres of influence, and each of them will have power in theirs. Use that power to educate, work together, and rally. Women’s Caucus Teach ins, legislative scripts, activist happy hours, and socials aim to give you the tools to do this and to support you.

So in 2018, as we work toward electing Democrats, opposing bigotry of the current administration, and creating a more fair and just society, let’s start by reflecting inward. Let’s learn and celebrate our history, challenge ourselves, step up and back, engage, and organize. By doing this, we can create solidarity in our movement, support women, and make a lasting change.

If you would like to get involved, Women’s Caucus wants you. EmailFacebook us, subscribe to the newsletter, keep visiting our website! We can’t wait to hear from you!

DAUK Women’s Caucus T-shirts!

Our Co-Chairs Lan Wu & Carol Anne Moore are wearing our new t-shirts — and you can get one too if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident!

How do I get one? Follow these steps:

  1. Click BUY NOW
  2. Complete the brief compliance form
  3. Follow the link to purchase

When you get yours, wear it and show it to us! Share on Twitter @DAUKWomenCaucus or on Facebook with #ShePersisted.


Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival

International Women’s Day!

Wednesday, March 7th to Sunday, March 11th,

WC meetup Sunday, March 11th, 6 pm

Southbank’s “WOW” festival started in 2011 and this year will run from Wednesday, March 7th to Sunday, March 11th, 10 am to 11 pm with a focus on the critical issue of why gender equality is taking so long. For a full range of events click here.

There are tickets still available online to several of the evening events. Friday/Saturday/Sunday day passes are sold out but you can check with the box office for returns and some events will be open. There will be an on-going market in the Royal Festival Hall with stalls for organizations raising awareness, developing creative ideas and offering products for sale.

I’m just sorry to be travelling on Friday, March 9th since the “No More” event that evening has a great group of guest speakers. I am going on Sunday for Sandi Toksvig’s event at 7:30 pm. Tickets are still available online. If you would like to come that evening, I would love to meetup for a bite to eat around 6 pm at the Archduke restaurant, under the arches just south of the Royal Festival Hall, 1 Mepham Street, SE1 8RL. Do let me know and I’ll reserve a place!

Hope to see you!
Carol Moore


Two of the weekend evening events:

“No More”

Part of WOW – Women of the World
Friday, March 9th, 9 pm, Royal Festival Hall 25,

WOW London brings together women on the front line of global movements who are transforming the future by demanding ‘No More’.

No more violence.
No more harassment.
No more silence.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to mobilise activists from across the world to protest against continuing violence towards people of colour. The Women’s March on Washington in 2017 was close to being the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history, with a worldwide participation estimated at five million. And in the same year, women have openly come forward to unravel historic sexual assault allegations sweeping Hollywood, Westminster, and almost every sector, artform and industry globally.

In the centenary of women’s suffrage, where some women got the right to vote after a long campaign of direct action, come and hear what’s next for these global campaigns.

Special guests include:

Patrisse Khan-Cullors – co-founder of Black Lives Matter. An artist, organiser, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, California, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, popular public speaker, and an NAACP History Maker.

Laura Bates – pioneering feminist, activist and author of books including Everyday Sexism and Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism. Sharing the often ignored acts of sexism, Laura has been exposing the startling truth behind sexism since she started the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012.

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu – lawyer and founder of Women in Leadership publication, which she established to further promote the cause for equality and diversity. She is also an activist for women’s rights and one of the organisers of the Women’s March London.

Nidhi Goyal – Mumbai-based activist, trainer, and comedian advocating for disability rights and gender justice. She is visually impaired and uses humour to challenge existing notions around disability, gender and sexuality. Nidhi is currently participating in a Civil Society Advisory Group to the UN Women initiative.

Sandi Toksvig’s Mirth Control: Arts over Tit

Part of WOW – Women of the World,
Sunday, March 11th, 7:30 pm, Royal Festival Hall,

£15-40, w/concessions

Prepare to laugh in a raucous night of comedy and music inspired and performed by great women, hosted by Sandi Toksvig.

This annual WOW highlight is a fun-filled evening where Sandi takes inspiration from pioneering women who made iconic and empowering music for their generation and those that followed.

Featuring Josette Bushell-Mingo with extracts from her show Nina: A Story About Me and Nina Simone, performing the iconic musician and activist’s music, along with Alice Russell and Zara McFarlane.

Plus the WOW Orchestra led by guest conductor Alice Farnham, Voicelab

Choir led by Jessie Maryon Davies and more to be announced.

Please let Carol Moore know if you are joining her for dinner and the event or either at