Lučka Kajfež Bogataj
Lučka Kajfež Bogataj was selected for the 2012 Women Inspiring Europe Calendar
“There cannot be too much encouragement or inspiration. Even if my nomination encourages only one percent of women in our population to think more ambitiously, then this nomination will have served its purpose,”- says Lučka Kajfež Bogataj when asked to express the personal meaning of her nomination “Woman Inspiring Europe”. And of course, Lubliana University professor in climate change field better than anybody else knows the real value of only one percent. She was the only woman in the working group Two (IPCC scientists group), dealing with the impacts of climate change in 2007. Together with Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr., she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change. “The Nobel Price for Peace isn't actually given to a person, it actually emphasizes the problem, it means that our society recognises climate change as a problem that has to be dealt with. So this was very important to me, more than the reward itself”, - says professor.
Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity, announces the European Union. The worst effects of climate change are shortage of water and food, loss of jobs, migration and this especially affects women. “First of all women are physiologically not so strong, they can easily be victims of natural disasters. In a household women and children are responsible for the water supply - again women and children. And when families, people migrate - women organize things, take more time to care for their families. I am sure the impacts of climate change will be much harder on women, especially in developing countries”, - comments Lučka Kajfež Bogataj and adds that is why the need for women’s responsibility to be active is much greater.
The professor believes that women have all the measures in their hands to reduce the effects of climate change. Liquidation of gender discrimination in the labor market would increase GDP by 30 percent and also relieve women's vulnerability. “Climate change is a problem, we have known that for 20 years, but unfortunately the world's politics have not done their job right: we don‘t have a legally binding agreement how to mediate climate change”, - says Lučka Kajfež Bogataj and associates this problem with women's participation in politics, - “During international negotiations, there are very few women in high positions, so maybe it is also part of the reason we are going nowhere”.
The professor agrees women have to work harder, have to publish more articles, write papers of better quality to receive the same acknowledgement as men do. “But I think when you have a motive, you are really driven, but this isn‘t the major obstacle; when one has a family, children, when you have to plan your time carefully, how much for work, how much for one's family, it can be really extremely difficult. And that is also an evident part of inequality,”- says Lučka Kajfež Bogataj. Education and encouragement to seek a scientific and professional career – should be equally accessible to both sexes. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj is pleased to see the growing number of females among her students who choose natural sciences much more actively now.” As a professor, I remember 20 years ago - usually there were a lot more male students and few girls, but now we have 50/50. So, I would say in the future, with more women educated at university level, this gap between men and women will be breached,”- the professor shares her hopes and encourages young women to pursue a research career in nature science field, because “a lot of crisis in the world today is connected with natural science problems and there is a strong demand for good natural scientists”.
At the same time the professor encourages us not to forget family as the harmonization of work. Family responsibilities should be the priority of social policy of countries in order to ensure gender equality and also reduce the effects of climate change.