IWD 2022: Where Climate Change and Gender Inequality Meet

The International Women’s Day has over the years been an opportunity to celebrate women while highlighting the issues that affect them. Every year, a theme is announced to drive conversation and awareness on issues that are unique to women and provide the chance for the voices of women to be heard.

This year’s theme, “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow”, has put the spotlight on the intersection between climate change and gender (in)equality.

The relationship between these two issues is summed up by two words: climate justice. We are used to conversations on climate justice being about how poorer countries are disproportionately affected by the problems of climate change when richer countries are the biggest beneficiaries of and contributors to environmentally harmful practices due to economic activity. And this is a valid engagement on the issue. But on another level, gender inequality makes women more disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change and the women who are worst hit are those living in developing countries –  who experience the impacts of climate change as people living in vulnerable regions and as women Gender inequality condemns women to worse experiences of poverty, reduces their participation in the economy and the opportunities for social mobility, and exposes them to higher levels of violence, especially in times of disasters or instability. And climate change worsens these problems.

All these contribute to preventing women from accessing the resources they need to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, such as information and education, clean energy, energy-efficient technology, fleeing danger zones, or adopting more environmentally-sustainable practices.

There is, however, some good news. More people around the world are recognising the need to frame conversations on climate change in a way that acknowledges its impact on women, the need for their participation in climate action, as well as their contributions to climate education and advocacy, policy, adaption, and mitigation efforts, research, and technology. The Paris Agreement is both a result of and a driver of this. It iterates the need for parties to acknowledge gender equality and the empowerment of women when taking action to address climate change, and details adaptation and capacity-building efforts while urging countries to adopt gender-responsive approaches.

This International Women’s Day is a reminder to celebrate all the amazing women working to create a sustainable future for us all and acknowledge that climate justice is impossible without gender equality and the inclusion of women in climate action .

Never forget this.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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