Climate change & gender equality: A call to action

Stay tuned > Climate change & gender equality: A call to action

- March 31, 2023

Author: Natacha Guerdat, Head of Research

31 March 2023

Mobilizing women will be necessary in order to mobilize climate solutions and foster a just transition. Why should we add a gender lens in climate investing decisions?

Reaching gender equality and fighting climate change share a couple of unfortunate commonalities. They both affect vulnerable communities and in order to reach both goals, supporting measures need to increase at once and significantly. It is estimated that at current rhythm, all else being equal, the full reach of gender equality would take 300 years. And attempt to halt climate change is still lagging behind and the Paris agreement objective unreachable with the current dynamics.

Climate, finance, and gender are not stand-alone, independent topics. The climate crisis aggravates existing inequalities and worsens women vulnerability. The sixth assessment report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides strong evidence of the differentiated impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable including women, indigenous peoples, migrants, and persons with disabilities. 

Globally, women bear large burdens from the negative impacts of climate change. The gender perspective needs to be further integrated into the policies and actions implemented on the ground. However, women unequally participate in the decision-making process and contribution to climate-related policymaking. During the COP, the Gender Day aims to bring this topic to the forefront and share positive experiences. On a positive note, the report on Gender and Climate change provided at the COP27 conference in November last year screened the National Determined Contributions Plans and concluded an increase referring to gender integration in climate policies over time.

When pursuing a climate investing strategy, applying a gender lens increases the positive impact such investments can bring. The Gender & Climate Investment report highlights five main reasons for gender and climate investing:

  • Mitigate reputation and social risks,
  • Align with investors’ expectations to deliver financial and social returns,
  • Drive long term value through growth sources,
  • Unlock new investment opportunities,
  • Contribute to SDG societal goals larger than SDG 5 & 13

The largest funding gaps for improving gender equality can be found in agriculture and small- and large-scale energy infrastructure projects.  

In agriculture, focusing on sustainable land use and food value chain, form production to processing, can prove to be climate-resilient and improve women’s living standards. It can also ensure their rights to equal access to land, territories and resources are better protected.

Increasing affordable access to clean and smart energy can also strongly support women’s economic empowerment. Women bear the greatest burden of energy poverty. Promoting and investing in greater access to energy services can improve women’s health and economic empowerment. Developing decentralized sustainable energy technologies should improve women’s health and well-being and bring interconnected collateral benefits related to economic productivity and educational opportunities. It is agreed that women are part of the most vulnerable to climate change. On the other hand it is undisputable that they are agents of change for a successful transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development. Women’s participation in mitigation and adaptation activities is essential. Making gender-equal institutional changes brings benefit to the whole society.

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