Research shows that climate change has a bigger impact on women than on men. This happens for a number of reasons, including:
And despite women experiencing the brunt of climate change, they can’t do much about it. Across the globe, they lack empowerment, access to education and leadership positions.
It’s evident that without gender-informed policies and approaches, we are ignoring most of the victims as well as those that could bring forward concrete and informed solutions. This is what gender day at COP should have tackled, but other than inspiring talks we have seen few commitments from those holding the power.
Like all the other parts of climate action, climate finance should recognise the gendered impacts of climate change and promote gender equality and women empowerment. However, to date, only 4% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) directed at climate change targets gender equality, and the situation isn’t any better when funds come from the private sector or private foundations. Commitments made on Tuesday that tried to address the problem of gender and climate finance included:
Many countries have pledged and when not providing financial aid, have stepped in to promote the leadership of women and girls, as well as access to education, land ownership and embed gender equality within their climate action. Although some of the commitments are indeed quite bold and leave us with hope, the number of countries that pledged to take action is not nearly enough. Where are Europe and Australia? Where are the leaders of the Western World? We can only assume that this lack of interest mirrors the lack of initiative that has been taken in their own country to address the gender gap.
Having established that we need a gendered perspective to tackle climate change, it’s disheartening to see how little improvement we’ve seen in NDCs. A study from IUCN on 89 NDCs found that although attention to gender seems to be improving overall, roughly a quarter of NDCs are entirely gender-blind. Only Moldova and Cambodia met all the 8 gender-responsive criteria components used in the analysis.
The same research from IUCN highlights how the 18 Parties that didn’t include gender in their NDCs emitted on average more than three times the amount of GHG emissions as the 69 Parties that included gender.
It’s evident how failure to include women in the research, solutions and policies to fight climate change will ultimately slow down (if not completely kill) our transition to a just, net zero society.
There has been progress in recognising the gendered aspects of climate change, however, gender is still mostly approached as a siloed issue. But equality is transversal to everything we do and can improve how we run a business, lead a country and fight climate change–Until all nations recognise this and apply it to their climate change responses we will be holding ourselves back.
Women have been demonstrating resilience, entrepreneurship and adaptability for a long time. What they need now is access to education, leadership positions, a seat at the table.
The impact of climate change is harsher on women, but this doesn’t make them victims. Victims are generally seen as passive and helpless in the face of events bigger than they are. Women are agents of change, and their voices and experiences must be included in the transition to a net zero world.
By closing the gender gap, global GDP could increase by 26%. In the fight against climate change as well as in our desire for a more just, prosperous world, we can’t afford to leave women behind.
There has been undoubted progress in recognising the gendered aspects of climate change. However, we are now in the decade of climate action. The time for recognition and awareness is passed: we now need action plans and real change, and we need women to be included and empowered.
more than a word.