Tackling the double injustice of climate change and gender inequality

Tackling the double injustice of climate change and gender inequality

CARE paper outlining their work on the 'double injustice' of gender and climate change, and identifying key areas that must be addressed.

This paper provides an overview of the links between the ‘double injustice’ of climate change and gender inequality, and four key impact areas of CARE’s work: food and nutrition security, women’s sexual and reproductive rights, women’s economic empowerment, and humanitarian action. The paper hopes to inspire action, reflection and conversation about how to move development forward in light of these issues, and to ensure that CARE and development practitioners are better equipped to achieve sustainable poverty reduction and social justice.

Following an introduction that defines gender inequality and summarises CARE’s work, the paper is split into two main sections prior to conclusions and recommendations. First, the paper examines the delay in integrating gender into policies and action on climate change. The second section outlines CARE’s vision of a poverty-free world, including the organisation’s approach to gender inequality and climate change at the local level, and the links between gender, climate, food security, changing livelihoods, women’s economic empowerment, and reproductive rights.

Key messages to emerge from the paper include that sustainable development cannot be achieved without tackling climate change; that responsibility and resources for addressing climate change need to be allocated fairly; that there is no one-size-fits-all approach; and that messaging on gender and climate change has been problematic, with a focus solely on women sometimes causing stereotypes to become further entrenched.

The paper identifies six key areas of concern as part of ‘CARE’s vision 2020’ that require a response:

  • Tackling gender inequality and climate change: this is a fundamental part of CARE’s vision, incorporating the need to build resilience to climate change, conflict, and other shocks, and strengthening governance on food and nutrition security, women’s economic empowerment, reproductive rights and freedom from violence, and delivering life-saving humanitarian aid.
  • Gender equity and building community resilience: this requires tackling the root causes of poverty, and addressing uncertainties and risk. Locally-driven, participatory tools and methods should be used, with recognition that one size does not fit all.
  • Gender, climate, food security and agriculture: strict gender roles and gaps in agriculture must be confronted to address unequal food and nutrition security around the world. Gender-equitable, rights-based, and participatory action can build the required resilience.
  • Climate, livelihoods, and women’s economic empowerment: unpaid work, largely supplied by women, been taken for granted too long. Transformational systemic change is required that values and rewards all contributions, and distributes resources more fairly.
  • Reproductive rights and climate change: this is seen by CARE as a priority for sustainable development, with high population densities and climate vulnerability often going hand-in-hand. It is crucial that this is not confused with population control however, which places blame unfairly on the reproductive behaviours of people living in poverty.
  • Climate change, disasters, and emergencies: Social inequalities, not climate and weather, are responsible for the erosion of resilience and impacts on health, requiring structural inequalities and human impacts - not simply economic losses - to be addressed.
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