GENDER AND CLIMATE CHANGE


Strengthening climate action by promoting gender equality
Across societies the impacts of climate change affect women and men differently. Women are
often responsible for gathering and producing food, collecting water and sourcing fuel for
heating and cooking. With climate change, these tasks are becoming more difficult. Extreme
weather events such as droughts and floods have a greater impact on the poor and most
vulnerable – 70% of the world’s poor are women.
Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they play a crucial role in
climate change adaptation and mitigation. Women have the knowledge and understanding of
what is needed to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to come up with practical
solutions. But they are still a largely untapped resource. Restricted land rights, lack of access to
financial resources, training and technology, and limited access to political decision-making
spheres often prevent them from playing a full role in tackling climate change and other
environmental challenges.
Unleashing the knowledge and capability of women represents an important opportunity to
craft effective climate change solutions for the benefit of all.
Climate change represents the most complex challenge of our time – it requires a concerted,
proactive and holistic response. Gender inequality may dramatically limit the resilience and
adaptive capacity of women, families and communities. It may also restrict options for climate
change mitigation.
Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and advancing gender equality can deliver results
across a variety of sectors, including food and economic security and health. It can also lead to
more environmentally friendly decision making at household and national levels.