This activity in China’s Gansu Province promoted women-friendly legislation around climate change by organizing farmers into a grassroots congress. “Legal Advocacy for the Implementation of Gender-Sensitive Regulations Addressing Climate Change” saw legislative representatives in two counties simulate law-making processes, after which they provided their results to policy-makers. The effort sensitized both the public and decision-makers to the risks that climate change poses for women.
- 100 legislative representatives elected
- 800,000 farmers represented
- Decision-makers sensitized on the issue of climate change
Climate change leads to more frequent – and more destructive – natural disasters. Women die at a far higher rate than men in such disasters – perhaps 14 times higher, as research has shown. Climate change will undoubtedly threaten the lives and livelihoods of increasing numbers of women, due mainly to their lower economic and social standing. Male policy-makers have failed to consider this disproportionate affect of climate change on women, as for example reflected in China’s current policy around climate change, which lacks a gender perspective.
This initiative, organized by the Lanzhou University Center for Western Environmental and Social Development and an existing people’s congress, assisted nearly 800,000 farmers in two Gansu Province counties to each elect 50 legislative representatives. Of the total 100 representatives, 60 were women. This congress went through a mock law-making process, then provided information to and shared knowledge with legislative bodies at county and province levels.
Helping the planet
Such grassroots lobbying efforts sensitize decision-makers on the issue of climate change, while also enhancing community awareness of it. The process of making laws that better respond to climate change helps identify and prevent its root causes, and is thus likely to contribute to conservation natural resources, and help reduce pollution.
The process increased opportunities for women to communicate with legislative units and relevant governmental organizations. This has improved women’s participation in the public sphere, while enhancing legislative officials’ understanding of what roles women can play in addressing climate change. It lays a solid foundation for mainstreaming gender issues in the long term.
This first-time project for China resulted in successful advocacy. The legislative networks will be extended to 40 of Gansu Province’s 87 counties over the next five years, and is hoped to cover all 87 counties within 10 years. Since the gender-sensitive mechanism addressing climate change and disaster risk reduction is easy to demonstrate and understand, the activity is replicable and scalable.
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.