Climate Change Not Only Affects Women’s Physical Security .

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This briefing note is one of a series,produced by WWF-UK, to helpdevelop understanding andawareness around the importance ofgender analysis in natural resourcemanagement programmes.The briefings, include summariesfrom case studies around the world,looking at lessons and experiencesfrom integrating gender perspectivesto a lesser or greater extent inprogrammes. The format isdeliberately succinct and not tootechnical to enable the reader toaccess an initial understanding ofnatural resource-gender dynamics.Other briefings in the series can befound here:wwf.org.uk/what we do/making the links/women and conservationComments should be directed toClare Crawford atCCrawford@wwf.org.ukClimate change not only affects women’s physical security, but it alsoimpacts negatively on their work burdens and opportunities throughchanges in their livelihoods. They may also be impacted by a lack ofaccess to adequate (early warning) information, education, trainingand facilities to cope with disasters that result from climate change.Women should be at the centre of adaptation programmes becausethey are a particularly vulnerable group owing to their limited access,control and ownership over resources, unequal participation indecision and policy-making, lower incomes and levels of formaleducation, and extraordinarily high workloads.They also need to be at the heart of adaptation efforts because of thesignificant roles they play in agriculture, food security, householdlivelihoods and labour productivity – and their reliance on naturalresources. Within these critical roles, women have valuableknowledge and skills in managing natural resources. They’re often atthe front-line of adaptation to climate change, because of the highrate of men migrating away from communities.As such, it’s important to increase women’s participation andmeaningful inputs into discussions, dialogues, policy-making andinstitutions that focus on adaptation to climate change.Finally, it’s important to note that a gender approach to climatechange shouldn’t simply be about women and girls. Men and boys,1

Genderthe young and the old, are also vulnerable to the impacts of climatechange but often in different ways. These need to be identified andcommunicated.Climate change poses a serious threat to sustainable development andundermines natural resources. Core dimensions of women’slivelihoods include agriculture, food and water security all of whichwill be impacted by climate change. With few alternatives to turn to,women may be exposed to increased hardship to deliver dailyessentials and sustain their livelihoodsThere are significant differences in the rights and opportunitiesavailable to men and women (e.g. rights to land and resources, andopportunities to participate in and influence household andcommunity decision-making). As such, climate change will impactmen and women in different ways. This is known as a ‘genderdifferentiated impact’. Therefore interventions aimed at addressingclimate change impacts must include a gender perspective. Disastersand impacts attributed to climate change often intensify existinginequalities, vulnerabilities, economic poverty and unequal powerrelations between men and women.However, women aren’t just helpless victims of climate change, theyare also powerful agents of change and their leadership is critical.Women can help in dealing with issues such as energy consumption,deforestation, burning of vegetation, population growth, economicgrowth, development of scientific research and technologies, andpolicy making, among many others.Climate change affects everyone but to different extents. Climatechange magnifies existing gender inequalities 1, reinforcing the11Gender equality is the concept that all people – men and women – arefree to develop their personal abilities and make choices without thelimitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, or prejudices. Genderequality means that the different behaviours, aspirations and needs ofwomen and men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It doesn’tmean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights,responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are bornmale or female. (Training Manual on Gender, IUCN/UNDP)16 Tantyo Bangun / WWF-CanonClimate change is increasingly recognised as a major security issue forhumankind – one that poses serious global threats. The impact will bemost severe for the world’s poor and marginalised communities whooften live in stressed environments and/or have fewer means forcoping. Women are disproportionately represented among the world'spoor and as a result are most likely to bear the heaviest burdens ofclimate change.

Genderdisparity between women and men in their vulnerability to and abilityto adapt. In every society, women and men have different roles insideand outside the household. Women and girls are likely to experienceworsening inequalities as a result of climate change impacts throughtheir socially constructed roles, rights and responsibilities, andbecause they are often poorer. At the same time, it’s largely the role ofwomen to provide the food, fuel, and water and care that the familyneeds, in addition to earning cash. In communities where this is thecase, women are likely to have: Anthony B. Rath / WWF-Canon Greater reliance on diminishing natural resources – such asrivers, wells, reliable rainfall, and forests. Fewer physical resources – such as land, fertilizer orirrigation, and fewer assets (such as machinery or a bicycle)to use to make money, or to sell as a last resort in times ofcrisis or due to external events like severe weather events. Fewer financial resources – little cash, savings or access tocredit, and less access to markets that give a fair price fortheir goods. Less powerful social resources – owing to social and culturalnorms that limit their mobility and their voice in decisionmaking, reinforce traditional roles, and put them at risk ofviolence. Fewer human resources – due to having less education, feweropportunities for training, and less access to officialinformation.For these reasons it’s now widely acknowledged that negative effectsof climate change affect women more acutely.Climate change is likely to exacerbate previously existing patterns ofdiscrimination that, on average, render women more vulnerable tofatalities and reduce their life expectancy, especially for economicallypoor women. For example, it is estimated that women and childrenare 14 times more likely to die in natural disasters. This may be due tocultural norms in some countries that limit women’s access to orwhere women are not taught skills like swimming or climbing trees.At the same time household and childcare responsibilities can make itdifficult for women to seek safety in a timely fashion and as a resultwomen may suffer greater injury and fatality in climate changeinduced natural disasters.Women’s role as principal producers and providers of staple foodsalso places additional strain on them in the face of climate change.The role of rural women in agricultural production is essential for thenutritional status of families and can be an important source ofincome. The agricultural sector is very exposed to risks of droughtand uncertain precipitation; this means that climate changeendangers food security as well as the well-being of families and theircapacity to survive. However, female farmers are often overlooked inagricultural policies and strategies, or those relating to climatechange. Furthermore, women receive extremely limited extension3

Genderservices, which might help them address how to cope with changingweather conditions and climate change.Coping strategies are often also different for men and women withwomen contributing significant additional labour to compensate fordiminishing resources or threats to livelihoods from climate impacts.For example, climate change-induced flooding, drought, and changesin forest management are over time likely to increase women’sworkloads in domestic fuel and water collection in some regions. Inaddition, women’s workloads can also increase when livelihoods aredisplaced by climate impacts forcing men to migrate in search ofwork.There are four major opportunities for addressing gender differencesand inequalities in climate adaptation programmes and policies:16 Understanding and addressing gender-specific use ofresources that can degrade the environment (e.g.deforestation due to inappropriate agriculture practices orweak tenure rights). A lack of understanding of gender withinresource management and climate change can impede effortsto achieve wider goals like poverty reduction and sustainableenvironmental development. Recognising that women are already more vulnerable topoverty than men and therefore have specific needs in climatechange-driven scenarios (e.g. floods, drought, disasters). Toreduce the vulnerability of women, and increase the capacityof society as a whole to adapt to a changing climate, womenshould be central to sustainable adaptation strategies.Gender-sensitive responses require an in-depthunderstanding and analysis of existing inequalities. Women’sresponsibilities and knowledge about the environment andthe challenges they face need to be a central part of anadaptive response to a rapidly changing climate. Acknowledging and addressing women’s unique physicalvulnerabilities to climate change and the need to includethem in the design of adaptation programmes such as earlywarning systems to reduce human impacts, especially forwomen and children, of severe weather events. Michel Roggo / WWF-CanonGender is a critical factor in understanding vulnerability to climatechange, identifying adaptive capacities, resources and makingappropriate decisions to respond to climate change. Effectiveadaptation must promote gender equality and women’sempowerment. Because climate change affects women and mendifferently, a perspective that recognises and responds to thesedifferences is essential.

Gender Identifying women’s particular skills and capacities in variousaspects of their household livelihood strategies and naturalresource management that lend themselves to climateadaptation.Strengthening the quantity and quality of women’s participation indecision-making at all levels in climate change adaptation. Womenare more likely than men to be absent from decision- making andstrategies for climate adaptation, whether in the household or atcommunity, national or international levels – either because theircontribution is not valued or because they don’t have the education,time, confidence or resources to contribute.climate action. Applying gender analysis to inform the design ofresponses to climate change can help identify ways to mitigate risksthat may exacerbate gender inequality. It can also highlightopportunities to enhance positive outcomes.Women may be particularly vulnerable to climate impacts, but theirknowledge and use of natural resources also make them key toadapting to the new climate reality. With women at the heart ofadaptation, the whole community will become more resilient. Kevin Schafer / WWF-Canon Improve understanding and awareness of existinginequalities between women and men, and of the ways inwhich climate change can exacerbate these inequalities (i.e.better understanding of the differences between how menand women use natural resources). Understand the ways in which the differences between menand women and their use of natural resources can intensifythe impacts of climate change for all individuals andcommunities. Understand the role of women in adaptation to climatechange; understand power relations between and among menand women, and the way that climate change can exacerbateand widen these relations. Design adaptation programmes (e.g. managing naturalresources) in ways that are sensitive and responsive to thedifferent and multiple roles women and men play in variousspheres of natural resource management, as well as in theirhouseholds, communities, livelihoods, and customary andstatutory institutions (local, national, regional andinternational). Ensure increased participation and inputs from women indecision-making processes and negotiations and in policymaking, related to climate change issues, in local,community, national, regional and international institutions.5

GenderSocial Resilience and Climate Change – World Bank Group, 2011Coping with climate change: what works for women? Kate Raworth,senior researcher, Oxfam GB, June 2008.Gender and climate change – Women as agents of change. IUCNclimate change briefing, December 2007Gender, Climate Change and Human Security. Lessons fromBangladesh, Ghana and Senegal. Prepared for ELIAMEP for WEDO,May 2008Gender and Climate Change. Gender in CARE’s Adaptation LearningProgramme for Africa. CARE and Climate Change, 2011Adaptation, Gender and Women’s Empowerment. CAREInternational Climate Change tion/CARE Gender Brief Oct2010.pdfGender and climate change: mapping the linkages. A scoping studyon knowledge and gaps. June 2008. Prepared for the UKDepartment for International Development by Alyson Brody,Justina Demetriades and Emily Esplen, BRIDGE, Institute ofDevelopment Studies (IDS)Climate Change and Disaster Mitigation – Gender Makes aDifference. Lorena Aguilar, Senior Gender Adviser. IUCN, 2008Training Manual on Gender and Climate Change. Lorena Aguilar,Senior Gender Adviser. IUCN & UNDP, 2009Women at the frontline of climate change: Gender risks and hopes. ARapid Response Assessment. Nellemann, C, Verma, R, and Hislop, L(eds). 2011. UNEP & GRID-Arendal16

GenderClimate change and gender in Nepal: Roel A. Burgler / WWF-CanonTHE IMPORTANCE OF BRINGING GENDER INTO THE MAINSTREAMOF CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES AND PROGRAMMESIn 2008, the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation(WEDO) commissioned a study of climate change and gender inNepal. The result was an input into a workshop on how to bringgender into the mainstream of climate change policy-making andprogrammes.The study outlined that climate change is having a major impact onNepal. Changes in the fragile ecosystems are affecting people’slivelihoods, which are highly dependent on agriculture. Climatechange clearly affects all Nepalese people, but not everyone has thesame capacity to adapt. Gender inequalities are among the factorslimiting the capacities of women to cope with and respond to climatechange.The study found climate change, which is triggering more frequentextreme weather events such as droughts and floods, is affectingNepal’s ecosystems and depleting natural resources. This in turn hasa negative impact on food production and increases food insecurity.The projected impacts on men and women in Nepal include: Water, fodder and fuel wood are becoming more and morescarce as a result of climate change, affecting women whocollect these resources. It is expected that such tasks will takeeven longer in the future, which will considerably increasewomen’s workload. Agricultural practices may have to adapt to less snowfall andlonger dry periods due to climate change. The burden will fallmainly on women to adapt and adopt new productionpractices and the use of new crops suited to dryer conditions. Women have limited access to information and training,which may restrict their capacity to adapt. Men, as breadwinners, also bear a lot of pressure, especiallywhen they’re unable to provide for their families’ needs. InNepal, more and more men are leaving their villages, lookingfor any kind of employment in the cities or abroad. Besidesthe immediate economic hardship, they also face a lot ofmental and emotional stress. For women, the result of men’s migration is usually anincreased workload and more responsibilities at a time whenit’s becoming more difficult to fulfill these.7

GenderIn Nepal, many factors hinder women’s adaptation capacities,increasing their vulnerability. Nepalese women play an important rolein maintaining households and communities and in managing naturalresources. However, their role is seldom recognised, and theirperspectives, needs and interests aren’t properly taken into account indevelopment and environmental policies and strategies.Programmes and policies need to recognise that women and men arelikely to face common challenges, but that their capacity to react, toadapt, or to change will not be the same, owing to their differentpositions in society.Adaptation strategies need to:16 Incorporate a gender perspective, recognising the differentroles of men and women. Recognise that women and men have different roles in thesociety, face different challenges, and demonstrate differentreactions and methods for coping. Involve women in order to tap their rich knowledge andexperience, to enhance food security. Women might have adifferent perspective and innovative ideas for helping peopleto cope with climate change effects. Pay specific attention to both women and men’s needs inorder to reduce their vulnerability and improve theiradaptation. Recognise that increasing agriculture production and foodsecurity may reduce the incidence of men’s migration, henceensuring a better balance in men and women’s workloads,and reducing the potential for women’s burdens to increaseowing to migration. , Realise that adaptation to climate change will require thedevelopment of assets and the empowerment of women,increasing their capacity to access more opportunities, newlivelihood options and appropriate technologies. Recognise that women have a role to play in global climatechange adaptation negotiations and strategies. Focusing onboth women and men’s needs and capacities will increase theefficiency of these strategies. Francisco Márquez / WWF-SpainTo ensure strategies that offer efficient ways of adapting to climatechange, policymakers must acknowledge the different roles played bywomen and men, how they use natural resources, and what theiradaptation capacities are –– and hence what their different needs are.

GenderCase Study – Gender and Climate Change in the Hindu KushHimalayas of Nepal. Brigitte Leduc, Senior Gender Specialist(ICIMOD), with Arun Shrestha, ICIMOD Climate Change Specialist,and Basundhara Bhattarai, ICIMOD Gender Specialist.Commissioned by WEDO (2008)9

GenderThe CRiSTAL community-based riskscreening tool: local strategies for copingwith drought in MaliThe CRiSTAL approach is also a project planning and managementtool that provides a gender-specific vulnerability analysis for differentparts of the population. This highlights the specific coping strategiesof women, and results in clear pointers on how gender-specificmeasures will need to be incorporated into projects.Between 2004 and 2006, an interdisciplinary team conducted a seriesof field tests on completed or ongoing natural resource managementprojects. In the Sahel in Mali, the CRiSTAL showed that ruralcommunities have developed coping strategies for extreme climateevents such as droughts.Inter-cooperation, a Swiss NGO, used the CRiSTAL approach in Malias part of its work to strengthen local capacity in climate change anddisaster risk reduction. The tool produced answers that enabledproject planners and participants to better understand the threats tolocal livelihoods posed by current climate risks, and the community’sexisting coping strategies. The approach also allows for genderspecific analysis on the differences in vulnerability among the ruralpopulation.Simultaneously, the analysis raised awareness among stakeholders atthe national, regional and local level about climate change issues.Although women didn’t have their own workshops during theCRiSTAL process, the project did pay particular attention to women’sparticipation:A female programme officer, who was skilled in addressing sensitiveissues, was employed to be in charge of the region’s work.The CRiSTAL analysis focused on gender-specific distinctionsbetween

Gender and climate change – Women as agents of change. IUCN climate change briefing, December 2007 Gender, Climate Change and Human Security. Lessons from Bangladesh, Ghana and Senegal. Prepared for ELIAMEP for WEDO, May 2008 Gender and Climate Change. Gender in CARE’s Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa. CARE and Climate Change, 2011 –

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