Nadia Cruz

On March 12, 2023, as part of celebrating the #InternationalWomensMonth, women cycling enthusiasts and climate activists rode their bicycles to uphold rights to food and clean energy. The all-women bike actions are currently being held across the Philippines and Asia to raise rights to food, energy and climate justice. The action highlighted the needs and demands of women, as well as the challenges they face in the midst of the climate crisis where access to food of women in their communities is negatively impacted. The women-led bike action was held in partnership with The Pedal for People and Planet and Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

While it should be a shared responsibility regardless of gender, the burden of doing housework is expected of women in many Asian families due to existing social norms.. In addition, Women concurrently play a significant role in the labor force, providing us food especially with women making up 60 percent of Asian agriculture workers, among other types of crucial work.

In the Philippines, food security among Filipinos is negatively affected by low wages, increasing inflation, and climate change. In a 2022 survey, it was found that one out of ten households in the Philippines are food insecure, with the poorest regions in the Philippines being the most affected. With women workers being more likely to receive lower wages than men, women are more exposed to food insecurity.

Women-cyclists along with climate activists in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Atimonan, Batangas, Cagayan De Oro, Camarines Norte and Cebu rode their bicycles to uphold rights to food and clean energy in celebration of International Women’s Month. Photo : AC Dimatatac

Even though we produce a large number of agricultural products in the Philippines, majority of these products go directly for export. It is undeniable that many Filipinos do not have enough food to provide for their families, and also do not have the capacity to purchase them. Adding to this food insecurity is the climate crisis, which aggravates the damage to our crops with the increasing temperatures and increasing frequency of the calamities we experience.

Raising awareness about the climate crisis and being part of its solution can be done in many ways, and this includes the activity of cycling. Cycling promotes clean air through the daily reduction of carbon emissions. It also lessens the necessity for fossil fuel infrastructure. Cycling promotes freedom of movement for more people, and advances the efforts in achieving a more just and equitable world.

The all-women bike actions are held across Asia and call for gender, climate and energy justice. Photo: AC Dimatatac

Aside from the climate crisis, we have also seen that women cyclists face harassment and discrimination both in physical and online spaces, in addition to the road hazards they consistently have to deal with in their commute. Therefore, it is important to continuously struggle for inclusivity and safety in the roads for the most vulnerable, and pursue policies which are truly in the interest of the people and the environment.

As said by APMDD Coordinator Lidy Nacpil women participating in collective action such as this all women-bike ride spotlight the power of women and their vital role in society. It also shows that women echo the people’s calls for clean and renewable energy and the end of the fossil fuel energy system.

At 350 Pilipinas, we stand in solidarity with all the women who strive for our liberation and pedal for a fossil-free world.

Nadia Cruz is the Communication Officer for 350 Pilipinas. She is currently supporting advocacies related to the environment and the labor sector through media work and art. Photo: AC Dimatatac