HerstoryOfChange – Lilian Gregorio, advocate for women’s rights in climate action in Argentina 

As an ecofeminist network we want to provide space for the stories of inspiring champions in the field of gender equality and the fight against climate change and environmental pollution. We believe that a sustainable future and environment needs feminist solutions reflecting the lives of people on the ground. That is why we work on transformative gender equality and women’s human rights in interconnection with sustainable development and climate justice. One of these champions is Lilian Gregorio. 

Territories and communities in Argentina are threatened by extractive industries and climate change. Rural and indigenous women are directly affected by pollution and depletion of their natural resources, and women environmental defenders are the ones facing violence and intimidation. Fortunately, there are individuals and organizations working to defend these women and their lands. In 2021, Lilian Gregorio won a Gender Just Climate Solutions Award for her work with her organisation Fundacion Plurales.  

 Through the programme ‘Defensoras Ambientales’, ’Fundacion Plurales strengthens women and girls’ capacities and leadership in climate advocacy. The programme champions women who fight for access to rights such as water, territory and natural resources, in the context of high socio-environmental vulnerability. The women involved in the programme demand the preservation of natural resources and food sovereignty as the basis for their communities’ survival strategies. Women environmental defenders are generally peasants, indigenous and/or women from marginalized groups who are in a disadvantaged position because they live in dispersed territories. Thus, a key focus of Lilian’s work is to reduce the vulnerability in communications in which these women find themselves, and to increase their visibility through information on the situation of violations of their human, territorial and environmental rights, from the perspective of environmental and gender justice. 

Fundacion Plurales is an organization based in Argentina but ‘Defensoras Ambientales’ has been supporting women’s groups and organisations in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay since 2014. More than 40 groups of women environmental defenders from these 3 countries have been supported since the start of the programme. Support comes in the form of financial aid and technical help to strengthen their advocacy capacities in the face of the advance of extractive industries, climate change and the criminalisation of women human rights and environmental defenders.  

‘We have created a network of over 1 200 women across Latin America to protect our rights.’ 

A network of over 1,200 women has been built, and an innovative mobile phone application (PLAC) was launched to inform, connect, protect and communicate efficiently. This supports the protection of territories deteriorated by extractivism, agrochemical contamination and the restriction of local actors’ civic space. A feminist school was also established in 2021 to strengthen local knowledge, technical and advocacy skills for climate adaptation and mitigation, with the aim to improve the groups’ resilience and amplify their demands. 

‘At an action level, we believe that the greatest transformation force lies in shared synergy. That is why we focus on regional action with other NGOs, with a focus on building alliances between governments, women and their communities’. 

Lilian believes that the gender perspective is an instrument that helps to read reality by identifying inequalities and obstacles in society that different institutions reproduce. Her work aims to incorporate a gender perspective into policies, laws and practices at local, national and international levels. She also manages advocacy tools to promote women’s human rights, especially economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. 

Watch the video we made with Lilian here:


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