Past Event

Women in the Field: Cultivating Solutions for Climate Adaptation

March 6, 2024
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
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Reid Hall | 4 rue de Chevreuse 75006 Paris

This event will be held in English.

Co-organized by Daughters for Earth, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, and SHE Changes Climate.

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This event will conclude with a cocktail reception.

Shifting to sustainable agriculture is a crucial part of climate adaptation, and women are part of the solution.

Transforming food systems was a major focus of the last global climate negotiations at COP 28. (Read the declaration.) Climate change affects agriculture around the world, but women in the field have less agency to meet these challenges due to discrimination and unequal access to resources. Yet, they represent 43% of the agricultural labor force. (More context below.)

Join a group of farmers and climate specialists for a conversation on the role of women in agriculture and climate action. These specialists will detail issues specific to their regions, including some examples specific to Europe, and will make links between rural and urban contexts.

After introductions from Brunhilde Biebuyck and Sofia de Meyer, a short film screening will be followed by presentations by the speakers and a Q&A with the audience. The evening will conclude with a cocktail reception.


Want to learn more in the lead-up to the event? Here are some facts and articles to get you started:

Agriculture is a crucial playing field for climate action. Women represent 43% of the global agricultural labor force, producing 60-80% of all food in developing countries (FAO). Yet, they face significant discrimination when it comes to land and livestock ownership, equal pay, participation in decision-making entities; and access to financial support, training, and information (UNDP). To secure a sustainable and inclusive future, this pattern must change. 

Globally, less than 2% of all philanthropic dollars support organizations that work on climate change and environmental issues. Approximately 0.5% of philanthropy goes to environmental initiatives in the Global South, and only 0.2% goes to women-led environmental initiatives (Inside Philanthropy).

A fundamental overhaul of our current global agricultural model towards sustainable practices is needed to restore biodiversity, ensure the world’s growing population can be fed, and secure long-term economic growth. Regenerative agriculture emerges as a key alternative to the conventional agriculture model. 

“Women smallholder farmers—when able to access the same resources such as time, financing, land tenure, and extension support as men—are able to boost agricultural yields by 20 to 30 percent.” Read more from FP Analytics with Daughters for Earth and Vital Voices (2023)

“This December all eyes and hopes were on Dubai to set the course for collective global action to transform food systems for people, planet and prosperity during the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28).” Read more from UN Nutrition (2023)

“...If women had the same access to those resources as men, they would produce 20-30 percent more food...” Read more from the FAO (2011)


Sofia de Meyer is an impact entrepreneur, founder and leader in the field of regenerative economy and systems transformation. She has committed herself to social entrepreneurship since 2004, after working for a London-based international law firm for seven years. Her first company, eco-tourism camp Whitepod, received the Times EcoTourism Award as a recognition for its positive impact on the environment and local communities. Sofia de Meyer is also the co-founder of Opaline SA, a Swiss beverage company focused on circular and regenerative economy which she has led for over 10 years. She has been invited to present and share her experience at leading economic forums, including the World Economic Forum in Davos. Today, Sofia is a board member of institutions in the field of agriculture, health and culture. She is the European lead for Daughters for Earth to help raise awareness on, and support, the pivotal role of women in addressing the climate crisis.

Passionate about forging collaborations for sustainability and diversity, Alice Durand-Réville currently serves as a Senior Advisor, leveraging her expertise in global and European food systems, agriculture policies, biodiversity, and regenerative agriculture. She played a key role in establishing OP2B (One Planet Business for Biodiversity), the first transformative business coalition committed to scaling up regenerative agriculture practices worldwide. Highlighting her ongoing commitment to gender equality, Alice advocated for equal opportunities and built impactful partnerships to support women’s entrepreneurship throughout her career. She now serves as the SHE Changes Climate Ambassador for France.

Esther Mottier is a farmer and the founder of Votre Cercle de Vie. From a young age, driven by a thirst for knowledge about living things, especially medicinal plants, Esther decided to become a mountain farmer and naturopath. With her husband Nicolas, they chose to develop this pioneering project on their biodynamic family farm upon the birth of their first child. She then took the lead on the project, the architectural office, and two organic stores, while her husband managed the farm. Thus, she became a social entrepreneur, working with her family and their three children to contribute to the necessary systemic change to address environmental challenges through regenerative agriculture.

Introductory remarks

Brunhilde Biebuyck has worked at Reid Hall since 1984. Before becoming the director of Columbia Global Centers | Paris, she headed the Columbia-Penn undergraduate program in Paris and Columbia’s MA Program in French Cultural Studies. She has lived in the Republic of Congo, various parts of the USA, and France. After earning a PhD from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University (1981), she worked as a research associate with a team of linguists at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). She has collaborated on numerous publications and translations and serves on the editorial boards of the Classiques africains, a prestigious collection of works on African poetry and prose, as well as the Cahiers de Littérature Orale, the only academic journal in France devoted to oral literature. Her research concentrates on oral traditional narrative, and she is currently working on the French and English translations of an epic collected by her father, Daniel P. Biebuyck, among the Balega (DRC) in 1951.


Women in Climate Adaptation is a series of events aiming to raise awareness of the underestimated and underfinanced role of women, and their communities, in climate action. These events will gather project leaders, experts in the fields of climate action, and donors for an interactive dialogue sharing concerns and solutions for immediate action. This series is organized by Daughters for Earth and Columbia Global Centers | Paris.

The next event in this series will be held on November 6, 2024. Sign up for Climate Talks mailings to be notified of this event, as well as other climate-related events and initiatives at Columbia Global Centers | Paris.


Daughters for Earth was created in 2020 to inspire a movement and mobilize $100 million in support of women-led efforts in the field of regenerative agriculture, land and water protection, and renewable energies. In the past 2 years, Daughters for Earth has funded nearly 100 women-led projects, of which 37 are directly related to regenerative agriculture, in more than 30 countries.   

Columbia Global Centers | Paris addresses pressing global issues that are at the forefront of international education and research: agency and gender; climate and the environment; critical dialogues for just societies; encounters in the arts; and health and medical science.

SHE Changes Climate was created in 2021 to campaign for the equal inclusion of women at all levels of climate decision-making by focusing on advocacy, political influence and amplification of women’s voices on issues related to gender equality in the climate field. SHE Changes Climate is now working in more than 10 countries - both in the Global South and North - to raise awareness about the issue, provide a platform for accelerating climate action by sharing women-led solutions and give women leaders direct access to key national and international decision makers.


Nestled in the Montparnasse district, Reid Hall hosts several Columbia University initiatives: Columbia Global Centers | Paris, the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Columbia Undergraduate Programs, M.A. in History and Literature, and the GSAPP Shape of Two Cities Program. This unique combination of resources is enhanced by our global network whose mission is to expand the University's engagement the world over through educational programs, research initiatives, regional partnerships, and public events.

The views and opinions expressed by speakers and guests do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of Columbia Global Centers | Paris or its affiliates.