The world urgently needs both climate solutions and gender equality. Neither can exist without the other.
Climate change and gender inequality are two of the most significant and long-standing global challenges that we face today. And experts and policymakers in each area recognize that these issues are inextricably linked with one another.
It follows that successful climate solutions must take into account, and seek to address, the gender-differentiated effects of climate change.
In recent years, climate finance has begun to do just that.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND GENDER
Women are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In many countries, the traditional division of labor between men and women place women in charge of activities such as producing food and gathering water and fuel sources. Extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, make this daily work increasingly difficult and dangerous. As climate change forces women to travel farther and farther from home to collect water and firewood, for example, women become more and more vulnerable to instances of gender-based violence.
In addition, in many places, women lack access to financial resources, land and property rights, and political decision-making power, hampering their ability to combat the climate issues that directly affect them. For example, though women in many regions of the world play an important role in the agricultural sector, they are less likely than men to have access to credit to buy drought-resistant crops.
The full participation of women in political and economic life would yield many benefits for the climate movement.
First, despite obstacles, women already actively contribute to climate solutions based on their expertise in agricultural and forestry spheres. Incorporating their perspectives into high-level decision-making and planning would open the door for increasingly effective climate action.
Second, the economic engagement of women, about half of the world’s population, would be an enormous boon to global GDP. Some estimates suggest a global GDP increase of US$28 trillion per year by 2025. This economic growth could help drive the type of investment needed to successfully combat climate change.
Even as we consider these advantages, it’s also important to acknowledge that the impacts of climate change on women are human rights and security issues too. The climate movement should address the gender dimension of climate change not only as a means to an end, but also as an end in and of itself.
Read full blog post on the Climate Reality Project’s website