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. 


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