Gender and Climate Change: Overview Report
Author: Emmeline Skinner
Size: 91 pages (811kB)
This report argues that gender transformation is both an important condition and a potential end goal of effective climate change responses and poverty reduction. It highlights the need to put people at the centre of climate change responses, and to pay particular attention to the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents in the struggle for gender equality.
The report draws on research, evidence and examples of good practice at local and national levels. It is the result of a two-year international collaboration that involved contributors from a range of non-governmental, multilateral and bilateral organisations.
Climate change is often viewed as a scientific and technical phenomenon. Yet it is also a social, economic and political phenomenon with profound implications for social justice and gender equality. Both women's and men's needs and knowledge need to be taken into account by climate change policymaking institutions and processes at all levels.
Economic constraints and cultural norms mean that women's livelihoods are particularly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as subsistence agriculture or water collection. However, gender inequalities mean that their choices are severely constrained in the face of climate change. For example, land ownership restrictions for rural women mean that they might not have access to productive farmland, whilst a lack of financial capital means they cannot easily diversify their livelihoods.
Climate change responses can play a transformative role by challenging existing gender imbalances and contributing to greater gender equality. However, the gender disparity in decision-making around climate change is a significant contributing factor to the ‘gender blindness' of climate change policies. At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conferences of the Parties in 2010 (COP 16), women accounted for just 30 per cent of all delegation parties. Such gender imbalances result in unrepresentative policies. In addition:
It is imperative to create stronger links between global policy and local level realities. This will ensure that policies are informed by the voices of the women and men who deal with the consequences of climate change every day. Recommendations include:
Skinner, E., 2011, ‘Gender and Climate Change: Overview Report’, BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and Climate Change, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton
Organisation: BRIDGE Development-Gender, http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk