Is Climate Change a Gender Issue?

31 Dec 2008


The brief explores why climate change is a gender issue and what kind of support and capacity is needed to mitigate the impact of climate change on women.

It is clear that gender differences must be taken into account to understand the impact of climate change. Gender differentiated strategies for responses and capacity- building are needed, due to differences in gender specific roles and responsibilities created by society. These findings should feed into the climate negotiations 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.

More specifically the following actions are required :

• Recognise that women are more vulnerable in climate change driven scenarios : Government should analyze and identify gender-specific impacts and protection measures related to floods, droughts, diseases, and other environmental changes and disasters. An inter-ministerial task force could be set up towards this end.

• Understand and address gender-specific natural resource use pattern : Government should develop strategies to enhance women’s access to and control over natural resources, in order to reduce poverty, protect environmental resources, and ensure that women and poor communities can better cope with climate change.

• Identify women’s particular skills and capacities that lend themselves to mitigation and adaptation : Given that women’s knowledge and participation has been critical to the survival of entire communities in disaster situations, government should take cognizance of women’s specialized skills in different aspects of their livelihood and natural resource management strategies and utilize those that lend themselves to mitigation and adaptation.

• Increase women’s participation in decision-making at all levels in climate change mitigation and adaptation : Women’s participation in climate change related debates and

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