Our history

Established in 2017 by C40 Cities and Fondation L’Oréal, Women4Climate was a response to two key issues: women, especially those in frontline and marginalised communities, are often first and worst affected by the effects of the climate crisis; and often, women’s voices go unheard due to a lack of representation in decision-making. 

The programme, launched by Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo during her tenure as C40 Chair, aimed to:

  • Empower and nurture the next generation of women climate leaders through events, global mentorship programmes, and tech challenges.
  • Raise awareness and highlight women’s essential role in advancing climate action in urban areas through research on gender equity, cities, and climate action.

Our impact

As one of the world’s largest networks promoting women’s climate leadership, Women4Climate provided a platform to showcase women’s crucial contributions to climate action and celebrate women-led initiatives that address climate breakdown.

Since 2017, the Women4Climate community has:

  • grown to include over 1,000 mentees and mentors across 22 cities on five continents;
  • enhanced women’s participation in urban climate action, improving access to good, green jobs;
  • advanced women-led innovation through the Women4Climate Tech Challenge;
  • and hosted international events and activities, bringing together C40 mayors, industry leaders, and more;
  • Raised the profile of climate solutions and policies that promote gender and social equity.

Our legacy

Concluding in 2024 after seven successful years, the Women4Climate programme marks a moment to celebrate collective achievements. However, the need for gender-inclusive climate action continues, as it is vital for creating a future where everyone can thrive.

We are pleased to offer essential resources to help continue driving inclusive, women-led climate action and innovation, including:

  • Online leadership skills course: This four-week course aims to empower and inspire women and girls to strengthen their leadership skills to deliver climate initiatives rooted in the principles of inclusion and equity.
    Access the online course ↗
  • Women4Climate Online Course Playbook for Cities: An accessible guide for cities using the [above] online course, to build staff skills and engage local communities in inclusive, equitable climate action.
    Access the playbook ↗
  • Women4Climate Mentorship Programme Implementation Guide: Based on our experiences of running 44 mentorship programmes since 2017, we’ve created a best practice guide on delivering a mentorship programme on climate action for women and other underrepresented groups.
    Access the guide ↗
  • Research and case studies: Women4Climate’s original research aimed to deepen our understanding of the interplay between gendered climate impacts in the city context, urban policy solutions that address gendered impacts, and the critical role of women in urban climate action.
    Access the resources ↗


How can I encourage my city to run a mentorship programme?

To support your city in launching a mentorship programme, please refer to the Women4Climate Mentorship Programme Implementation Guide. Based on our experiences of running 44 mentoring programmes since 2017, this is a best practice guide to implementing a climate action mentoring programme for women and other under-represented groups. Residents can share it with relevant city departments to explore opportunities for the city to undertake such activities. Recommended city departments include climate/environment, public engagement/civic participation, women’s affairs, youth, employment, or education. Access the guide ↗

How can I build my climate leadership skills, or learn to deliver climate initiatives rooted in the principles of inclusion and equity?

The free, four-week online course, Developing Skills for Women Leadership in Climate Action, can help to build your inclusive climate action skills. Residents can draw on the scenarios described in the Women4Climate Online Course Playbook for Cities to design collective learning opportunities and engage in peer-to-peer learning. This is an accessible guide to using the online course and engaging local communities in inclusive and equitable climate action. Residents can also share it with city officials in their city to explore joint opportunities to undertake the activities described in the playbook. Access the playbook ↗


The Fondation L’Oréal supports and empowers women to shape their future and make a difference in society, focusing on three major areas: scientific research and inclusive beauty and climate action.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program has worked to empower more women scientists to overcome barriers to progression and participate in solving the great challenges of our time, for the benefit of all. For 25 years, it has supported more than 4,100 women researchers from over 110 countries, rewarding scientific excellence and inspiring younger generations of women to pursue science as a career.

Convinced that beauty contributes to the process of rebuilding lives, the Fondation L’Oréal helps vulnerable women to improve their self-esteem through free beauty and wellness treatments. It also enables underprivileged women to gain access to employment with dedicated vocational beauty training. On average, around 16,000 people have access to these free treatments every year and more than 35,000 people have taken part in professional beauty training, since the beginning of the programme.

Finally, women are affected by persistent gender-based discrimination and inequalities, exacerbated by climate change. While they are on the frontline of the crisis, they remain under-represented in climate decision-making. The Women and Climate programme of the Fondation L’Oréal supports, in particular, women who are developing climate action projects addressing the urgent climate crisis and raises awareness of the importance of gender-sensitive climate solutions.

To learn more about Fondation L’Oréal, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter (@FondationLOreal).

The VELUX Group is proud to be sponsoring the second edition of the Women4Cimate Tech Challenge. We believe women have a central role to play in developing and implementing sustainable solutions to benefit coming generations. We acknowledge the foresight of women and the barriers they often face in bringing their ideas to the fore. Through our support of this challenge, we can help some women to drive climate actions that change cities for the better.

The VELUX Group is also an overall C40 sponsor. Through this sponsorship we can further the dialogues and knowledge sharing that is necessary to lead to partnerships, and thereby actions, to improve the cities of the world.

VELUX products create better living, working and learning environments for people by making the most of daylight and fresh air through the roof. Based on the knowledge we have acquired from more than 75 years in business, we strive to improve awareness about how good indoor climates in buildings can contribute to good health and well-being for the people who occupy them. In our Healthy Homes Barometer, an annual independent research-based report, we investigate the effect unhealthy buildings have on people’s health. We believe that creating healthier buildings, where people spend up to 90% of their time, is key to achieving sustainable, likeable and not least liveable cities.