Women and Climate Change

Among developing country decision-makers,
there is little argument that the impacts of
climate change are causing harm now. The
eff ects are widely felt, from small island
nations on the frontline of climate change,
to densely populated deltas aff ected by sea
level rise, from melting glaciers in mountain
regions to drought- and storm-aff ected
territories inland.
Dozens of developing countries are
taking action to adapt to the impacts
of climate change and to embrace low
carbon development paths, recognising
the benefi ts of green growth for economic
competitiveness and stability. As climate
fi nance begins to fl ow—and more is promised
for the future—developing countries are
challenged to design robust institutions and
programmes for use of these funds.
From all of these dimensions, climate change
has particular implications for women.
Women’s wellbeing and life choices are
profoundly infl uenced by social institutions:
even without climate change impacts, they
face gender inequalities which typically
lead to higher rates of poverty and a deeper
experience of poverty than among men.
Climate change imposes resource scarcity
that aff ects women deeply, especially in those
areas where they are the primary farmers and
managers of fuelwood and water.
Gender considerations should be at the heart
of climate change policies and programmes in
developing countries because:
 women are diff erentially aff ected by
climate change;
 diff erences between male and female
roles and responsibilities may aff ect
individuals' capacity for climate action;
 diff erences in voice and power mean that
women’s priorities may not be recognised
—from local to global level;
 gender-sensitive adaptation programmes
are likely to be far more eff ective in
safeguarding lives and livelihoods: when
women are more empowered they are
generally less vulnerable to disaster
 women have the potential to contribute
as equal partners to the low carbon
Will we ensure that adaptation and mitigation
do not leave women relatively worse off ? Will
we take this chance to protect and enhance
women’s and girls’ life choices, making a
better future for all?
This publication outlines some of the
initial steps the Climate and Development
Knowledge Network (CDKN) is taking to
ensure that development is both climate
compatible and fair to women and men.
We invite you to partner with us in this vital


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