Climate justice and women’s rights: a guide to supporting grassroots women’s action

Climate justice and women’s rights: a guide to supporting grassroots women’s action

This guide aims to increase timely and appropriate funding for worldwide climate action initiatives led by women and their communities.

It highlights that women are particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change but that most funders lack adequate programs or systems to support grassroots women and their climate change solutions. Men receive far greater resources for climate-related initiatives because they tend to wage larger-scale, more public efforts, whereas women’s advocacy is typically locally based and less visible, making it more difficult for funders to find and support.

The guide points out that funders, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and governments have begun to acknowledge that women are more vulnerable to climate chaos, but few devote attention to the women who are already forging powerful solutions for climate change. It argues that there is an urgent need around the world to ensure women at the local level have adequate information, support for their own solutions and priorities, rights to natural resources and a voice at the table where climate policy is discussed.

The guide highlights the importance of grassroots women leaders in stepping up to the challenge of climate change but argues that their rights need to be protected and promoted more than ever as climate change strains social dynamics and competition over resources and exacerbates existing inequalities.

The guide argues that grantmakers who want to fund these activities need to understand that women require significantly more support and effective collaboration across funding networks. Funders must understand the basic concepts from a climate-justice and gender-justice approach, establish and build from common values, and actively seek partnerships with organisations that provide complementary expertise. Funders must also become familiar with the global climate change policy and finance landscape in order to better influence the flow of grants to grassroots women. Finally, funders should thoughtfully examine their existing grant portfolios and prioritise learning from previous experience.

To effectively support these efforts, funders need to understand how to increase access, opportunities and freedoms for women and ensure their funding does not create new burdens. The guide argues that impactful grantmaking for grassroots women means analysing climate change effects through a women’s rights’ lens and analysing women’s rights with a climate lens. It means thinking in terms of justice and equality, not just carbon credits and greenhouse gases. It also means recognising grassroots action’s significant impact on climate change in a variety of areas, ranging from indigenous territorial rights to women’s recycling enterprises.

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