Gender and Climate Change: Framework for Analysis, Policy & Action

31 Dec 2007


The paper provides a framework to analyse gender and climate change concerns in light of strengths and vulnerability of the poor, particularly women. It also outlines efforts being undertaken to mitigate the impact of climate change and provides recommendations for policies and actions.

Physical impacts resulting from such accumulation such as rising temperature, rising sea levels, extreme events will dramatically alter the natural balance of local and global ecosystems and will infringe on human settlements (Figure 1). Consequently, vulnerable groups such as poor, especially women will be faced with problems such as food insecurity, loss of livelihood, hardships due to environmental degradation which also lead to displacement and a whole host of potentially devastating economic and social consequences. It is the poor women who are vulnerable and will bear the adaptation burden despite their insignificant contribution to GHG emissions.

Gender-disaggregated approach is required in order to shed more light on the levels of vulnerability, and coping mechanisms of different social groups and effectiveness of measures. These findings should feed into the climate negotiation as well as national debates to enable decision makers to have a better understanding of how different groups of people are affected and what kind of capacity and support is needed. It is observed that climate change impact and responsibilities are not gender – neutral. Gender differentiated strategies for responses and capacity building is needed due to differences in gender specific roles and responsibilities created by the society .With literacy and empowerment, some of these differences have come down considerably.

This is true in the developed countries as well as in the literate societies in the developing countries, especially in the urban metropolis societies. Of course, in the rural areas women are as much involved in agriculture, fishing, and other livelihood activities as men are, however, their roles and rewards differ. If gender 5 roles in real life are clearly differentiated then each should be assisted to cope with the problems they face.

It is widely acknowledged that the negative effects of climate change are likely to hit the poorest people in the poorest countries the hardest, in other words: the poor are most vulnerable to Climate Change. Women form a disproportionate share of the poor in developing countries especially in communities that are highly dependent on local natural resources: Their problems should be addressed adequately.

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