Today 8th of March the world celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women. The theme for this year's International Women's Day is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity".
In the transition towards sustainable economies and societies, south pole group and the Group's partner WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & Natural Resource Management) recognise the necessity of developing a results-based means to evaluate initiatives for empowering women. Empowering women offers transformative potential in areas such as climate change, poverty, gender inequality and food security.
WOCAN has begun developing a certification system called the W+ Standard to facilitate the quantification, monetization and transfer of social capital to women in relation to six women's empowerment-related development domains: income and assets, time, health, education, leadership and food security. The W+ consists of a set of project design and implementation requirements that can also complement other certification systems and standards: these include the likes of the Voluntary Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard and Fair Trade. The first W+ pilot project was carried out in 2014 in Nepal in partnership with south pole group and it measured the time saved when women had bio-gas systems and did not have to rely on gathering fuel wood. The results of the project showed savings of up to 2 hours a day for women who used the biogas technology, resulting in a decreased need for firewood - curbing deforestation - and more time for the women to pursue education and community leadership.
The annual International Women's Day aims to reinforce the importance of recognising and supporting the leadership and roles of women across sectors and socio-economic classes in the management of natural and social resources.