Gender & chemicals

The global conventions that address harmful chemicals, mercury and waste are managed by the United Nations. We work with the secretariat of the Basel Rotterdam and Stockholm convention, to document gender dimensions of chemicals and waste. Together with our partners from the countries we carry out scoping studies and visit hotspots of chemical pollution and waste. We document the gender dimensions in case studies and on film, and we propose gender measures for national governments to integrated in their institutions. We work in networks of civil society partners on join policy recommendations and advocacy during the conference of parties of these conventions. We organise dialogue meetings with decision makers on reducing pollution from chemicals and waste. We disseminate women’s priorities for stronger waste and chemical policies through TV and social media. We promote safe alternatives that reduce waste and exposure to harmful chemicals, such as reusable menstrual hygiene products.

Focus areas & achievements

Our Gender, Chemicals and Waste programme includes scoping studies in Nigeria, Indonesia, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya and Tunisia. In particular, we analysed the harmful effects from plastic waste, electronic waste, industrial PCB waste and from pesticides. The results of the scoping studies in Africa have been produced as an awareness raising film, which is shown on the website of the United Nations chemicals conventions, and was shown on Nigeria’s international TV reaching 60 million viewers in 2018. We presented the policy recommendations of the case studies with the Minister of Environment of Nigeria, and the Indonesian government, during the 3r United Nations Environment Assembly in 2017 to all interested delegations. The case studies and film continue to be used by the UN secretariat for their gender-trainings of the chairs of the Conference of Parties. In Germany, the Netherlands and France, we work in partnership with other civil society organisations to promote stronger legislation to phase out harmful chemicals, pesticides and plastics. We cooperate in multi-stakeholder processes where we present the priorities of women and civil society on the risks of nanotechnology, asbestos, mercury and hormone disrupting chemicals. We cooperate with social responsible entrepreneurs to promote non-toxic and plastic-free alternatives.

Latest Project

We worked together with our partners Centre for Environmental Justice and Development (CEJAD) Kenya and Association de l’Education Environnementale pour les Futures Générations (AEEFG) Tunisia on a new gender and chemicals project. You can find an overview of all the events regarding this project here:

  • At UNEA5.2 we organised the Green Tent Event titled “Gender Dimensions of the Implementation of Chemicals & (Plastic) Waste Policies – Protecting Vulnerable Groups and the Environment”, presenting the preliminary results of our scoping study. Find the recording of the event on the 1st of March 2022 here.
  • At the BRS COPs on the 8th of June 2022, we organised the side event “Integrating Gender Equality & Women’s Leadership in Chemical and Waste Policies & Programs in Africa”. Visit the event page here.
  • During the 2023 COP’s we officially launched the final documentary and scoping study titled “Tackling Toxics” in a side event, of which you can find the programme here



Secretariat Basel Rotterdam & Stockholm Conventions, Balifokus Indonesia, WEP Nigeria, BIOM Kyrgyzstan, EKOIS Kyrgyzstan, Red Climatica Bolivia, PAN Europe, HEAL, EEB, Break Free from Plastics, WEN, CEJAD Kenya, AEEFG Tunisia.