Streamlining Climate Change and Gender

Gender Equality

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Tara DePorte , Lower East Side Ecology Center, Phone: 1(212)477-4022, Email: Web:  




Ulrike Röhr, director of genanet - focal point gender, justice, sustainability, which aims to integrate gender justice within environmental and sustainability policies. Her primary areas of responsibility are gender issues in energy and climate change.
Email: Web: . Berlin, Germany. Fax: +49-69-740842.



The Issue

The United Nations is formally committed to gender mainstreaming within all policies and programs. However, gender equality is not yet realized in any society or part of the world. Gender differences are observed in every stratum of social institutions ranging from the family to religious groups or caste systems; political and legal structures; economic and educational institutions; and the mass media. All are permeated with norms and values which inform the economic, social, institutional, and legal constraints which affect women and men's rights to own land, control resources, access technology and education, and thereby also influence the attitudes, contributions, impacts, and individual potential to adapt to climate change.

A number of issues signal the crucial role of gender in understanding the causes of climate change, efforts to mitigate it, and working towards successful adaptation to inevitable climate variability and change[1]:

1.        Women and men– in their respective social roles – are differently affected by the effects of climate change and variability;

2.        Similarly, women and men – in their respective social roles – are differently affected by climate protection instruments and measures;

3.        Women and men differ with regard to their respective perceptions of and reactions to climate change and variability;

4.        Women's and men's contributions to climate change and variability differ, especially in their respective CO2 emissions;

5.        Climate protection measures often fail to take into account the needs of large numbers of poor, women, children and elderly members of society, in terms of infrastructure, energy supply, etc;

6.        The participation of women in decision-making is very low in climate policy and its implementation in instruments and measures.  

The articulation of a functional relationship between gender and climate change is one of the most pressing challenges to effective adaptation and mitigation.  This requires, a new paradigm for advancing gender equity in climate change dialogue, action, and policy. The intent of the chapter and working group is to summarize, and expand upon, the gender-climate dialogue, while making recommendations on how to mainstream gender into climate-related processes and decision-making