Women and Climate Change
Among developing country decision-makers,there is little argument that the impacts ofclimate change are causing harm now. Theeﬀ ects are widely felt, from small islandnations on the frontline of climate change,to densely populated deltas aﬀ ected by sealevel rise, from melting glaciers in mountainregions to drought- and storm-aﬀ ectedterritories inland.Dozens of developing countries aretaking action to adapt to the impactsof climate change and to embrace lowcarbon development paths, recognisingthe beneﬁ ts of green growth for economiccompetitiveness and stability. As climateﬁ nance begins to ﬂ ow—and more is promisedfor the future—developing countries arechallenged to design robust institutions andprogrammes for use of these funds.From all of these dimensions, climate changehas particular implications for women.Women’s wellbeing and life choices areprofoundly inﬂ uenced by social institutions:even without climate change impacts, theyface gender inequalities which typicallylead to higher rates of poverty and a deeperexperience of poverty than among men.Climate change imposes resource scarcitythat aﬀ ects women deeply, especially in thoseareas where they are the primary farmers andmanagers of fuelwood and water.Gender considerations should be at the heartof climate change policies and programmes indeveloping countries because: women are diﬀ erentially aﬀ ected byclimate change; diﬀ erences between male and femaleroles and responsibilities may aﬀ ectindividuals' capacity for climate action; diﬀ erences in voice and power mean thatwomen’s priorities may not be recognised—from local to global level; gender-sensitive adaptation programmesare likely to be far more eﬀ ective insafeguarding lives and livelihoods: whenwomen are more empowered they aregenerally less vulnerable to disasterimpacts; women have the potential to contributeas equal partners to the low carbontransition.Will we ensure that adaptation and mitigationdo not leave women relatively worse oﬀ ? Willwe take this chance to protect and enhancewomen’s and girls’ life choices, making abetter future for all?This publication outlines some of theinitial steps the Climate and DevelopmentKnowledge Network (CDKN) is taking toensure that development is both climatecompatible and fair to women and men.We invite you to partner with us in this vitalendeavour.