No climate justice without gender justice
Momentum is building for gender equity as today more than one hundred women from Asia and around the world voiced a call for gender justice to be included in the next international climate agreement.
The demonstration took place outside the current UN negotiations in Bangkok in an attempt to put much-needed pressure on the delegates to think ‘gender smart’.
“Women from around the world today rallied in front of the UN building in Bangkok, reminding delegates negotiating the post-2012 deal that there can be no climate justice without gender justice,” said Christina Chan, Senior Policy Analyst for CARE International and stresses, that currently the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the only legally binding agreement resulting from the1992 Earth Summit that does not incorporate gender equity.
Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor. They often lack the resources and assets they need to build their resilience to a changing climate such as land, credit, access to support services, new technologies and a place in decision-making bodies.
“The result of women’s vulnerability becomes all too visible when climate disasters occur. More women are injured or killed during hurricanes, floods and cyclones. They are less likely to hear official warnings and to be able to swim or to escape quickly, especially if carrying young children. They are also less mobile then men, confined to their homes,” said Chan, but stressed that poor women serve as important agents of change and play a key role in helping their families and communities adapt to climate change. She explained that in developing countries, women are often the main providers of the most essential livelihood sources; water, food and fuel. As a result, they possess knowledge on effective and innovative solutions to the growing problems associated with a changing climate.
However, according to CARE the world’s poor women often lack access to information and opportunity to feed their knowledge and experience into community, national and global level adaptation and mitigation strategies.
“This jeopardises larger processes of reducing climate change and its impacts. Well designed, top-down approaches to adaptation can play a role in reducing vulnerability to climate change; yet they may fail to address the particular needs and concerns of women,” said Chan from CARE and underlines: “The global deal must prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable people, and ensure that they have a voice in shaping the world's response to climate change. Women are especially vulnerable. Their lives and livelihoods hang on this deal.”