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Gender and Climate Change: Connecting Climate and Gender
 
Connecting Climate and Gender
What is the connection? Why is this important? What can be done?
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What is the connection?

Impacts of climate change – drought, floods, extreme weather and reduced food and water security, affect the poorest and most vulnerable groups hardest, and women comprise 70 per cent  of the world’s poor. Even though women are disproportionately affected, they also play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

One key aim of the UNFCCC is to combat climate change and its impacts on humanity and ecosystems. It is increasingly evident that empowering women will be a significant factor in meeting the climate challenge and achieving the long-term objectives of the Convention.

Why is this important?

Women are predominantly responsible for food production, household water supply and energy for heating and cooking. As climate change impacts increase, these tasks are becoming more difficult. However, women have knowledge and coping strategies that give them a practical understanding of innovation and skills to adapt to changing environmental realities as well as to contribute to the solution. These strategies to deal with climate variability are still a largely untapped resource. 

Additionally, women are often faced with difficulties when it comes to the general accessibility of financial resources, capacity-building activities and technologies. This often stands in the way of women’s empowerment in general, and their role in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation in particular.

Women also tend to be underrepresented in the decision-making on climate change at all levels. This severely limits their ability to contribute and implement solutions and apply their expertise.

What can be done?

The potential of women as agents of change is increasingly being recognized. A growing awareness of the link between empowering women and combatting climate change has already produced positive action on mitigation and adaption that both protects and benefits women.

The United Nations is looking to build on this awareness and tap the potential power of women as part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change.  At recent UN climate change conferences, gender has increasingly been referenced and the decision texts are becoming increasingly gender-sensitive.

Gender in the UNFCCC Process

At COP 18 in Doha, Parties agreed Decision 23/CP.18. on concrete steps to promote gender balance and improve the participation of women in the climate negotiations and in the representation of Parties in the bodies of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

This decision marks an important step forward in advancing gender-sensitive climate policy by ensuring that women’s voices are represented in the global discussion on climate change. It does this, for example, by setting a goal of gender balance in the bodies of the Convention and the Protocol and by inviting Parties to strive for gender balance in their delegations.

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