Climate change: the empowerment of women seen as an added value — Heinrich Böll Foundation

Rural women increasingly come to be seen as vital agents in response to climate change. Disproportionately affected by it’s impacts, these women also have a critical role in combating the weather changes, analyses Camila Moreno.

The women of the mountain villages in Rajasthan, India, carry 70 lbs

The women of the mountain villages in Rajasthan, India, carry 70 lbs. (or 32kgs) of wood on their heads for cooking every day. This woman is carrying a generator for repair in a nearby village. Photo: Karan Singh Rathore. Creative Commons LizenzvertragThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

The inclusion of a gender perspective with an ‘added value’ has been gaining strength in the proposed ‘low-carbon growth’, highlighting the female lead potential to ‘accelerate green growth’ and to respond to climate change. From growing evidence that women are at the heart of the challenge of climate change, and are disproportionately affected by its impacts, such as droughts, floods, extreme events etc., they also have a critical role to play in combating the weather changes.

In this process, in September 2013, more than 100 women’s rights leaders and activists from 35 countries gathered in New York to create an international movement to increase the attention, funding and action on the issue of climate change and to launch a Women’s Climate Action Program presented to the United Nations during the first International Women’s Conference on Land and Climate (IWECS), a branch of the International Women’s Earth and Climate  (IWECI).

Under the UNFCCC process (Framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change) has been gaining momentum the demand for climate policies ‘gender-sensitive’, as well as training to promote greater participation of women in the negotiations[1]. The COP 19, held in Warsaw in 2013 for the first time had a day dedicated exclusively to gender issues (gender day). One of the activities was the launch of a portfolio of demonstration projects under the initiative ‘Momentum Vision for change: Women to get results’[2]. These include adaptation or mitigation activities (such as ‘clean energy for household lighting or kitchen’) and its criteria demonstrate the leadership and active participation of women. They may eventually ask that it is registered under the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or Joint Implementation (JI). In the report of the UNFCCC ‘CDM and Women (2012), the CDM is presented as having the “potential to contribute to the empowerment of women’ which is proven through several of its methodologies[3].

The idea of an additional market value assigned to the ‘gender’ differential is beginning to be a reality in some projects directly connected to the process, especially in the implementation of climate policies; it has stretched the boundaries of financialization, such as those dealing with the preservation of assets called Natural Capital, such as carbon.


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