Women and Climate Change – UPSC GS1

  • Women are affected more by the climate change
  • In Climate Change negotiations, mainstreaming of women gender in key roles and processes has seen inadequate progress.
  • Women need to have more say in global climate action.
  • Climate change affects women and girls disproportionately, as they are more vulnerable to threats posed by the crisis.
  • Women and girls in all the regional and occupational diversity, experience its impacts differently.
  • This should translate to women having a larger say in advancing gender-responsive climate action, however the case is not so.
How are women more vulnerable to climate change?
  • Increased Work: Impoverished women gather fuel, water and food, and hence, often suffer the most when shortages are caused or made worse by the climate crisis.
  • No land rights: They don’t usually have land rights, so they are also more likely to be displaced in climate disasters. UN report stated that nearly 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.
  • Gender-based violence: The climate crisis exacerbates gender-based violence against women. Climate change increases women and girls’ risk for marital violence, sexual exploitation and early and forced marriage.
  • They lack representation in influencing decision-making at regional and global level.
What are the events voicing women participation at UNFCCC?
  • CoP-7 in 2001 stressed on the need for women’s equal participation and representation in bodies established under the UNFCCC or Kyoto Protocol. It was reiterated in CoP16 in 2010.
  • At CoP-20 in 2014, parties were formally invited to enhance participation of women in the Convention process. They established the first Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG).
  • The first gender action plan (GAP) under the UNFCCC was established at CoP23.
  • At CoP25, parties agreed for a five-year enhanced ‘LWPG’ and ‘GAP’.
What is the progress seen in women representation?
  • According to UNFCC, since 2013, female representation has increased in eight bodies, most significantly the adaptation committee.
  • IUCN 2015 data showed that only 12% of national environmental ministries were led by women. In 2020, the figure was 15%.
  • Inadequate Progress: Effective gender mainstreaming is not seen in global bodies, and in most national climate policy efforts. Members on key panels and decision-making groups are mostly men.
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