.
C

limate change is not gender neutral: it disproportionately impacts women and girls. Women face greater risks and burdens from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty, and the effects of the climate emergency are being shaped by pervasive and entrenched gender inequality. Aside from the direct negative impacts on women and girls, climate change also exacerbates existing inequalities, including poverty and gender inequality.

But women and girls are also agents of change—a force that needs to be unleashed to make climate ambition a reality. Without gender equality and the full empowerment of women and girls, effective climate policy and action will remain an unattainable dream.

Climate solutions need to be crafted with them at the table. Women and girls must be supported to implement them and have access and control to land and natural resources and be able to get an equitable share of benefits from such resources.

Key to effective climate action is the full participation of women and girls—not just in decision-making processes but also in program design and implementation financing and supply chains for climate action. Women are sorely underrepresented in national governance and in climate-related portfolios: only 7.3% of global climate ministerial roles are held by women. And this trickles down across the decision-making chain across all sectors.

In decision-making processes, women and girls are not just underrepresented they are all too often side-lined. Even within the COP26 climate summit itself, diversity is not a thing. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said COP26 is “too male, too pale, too stale".

Gender balance is still an aspirational goal for the majority of COP delegations that remain at 75 percent male to 25 percent female. Even more worrying, a new report by UNFCCC showed that 74% of speaking time in plenary is taken by men.

With such high ambitions, it is clear that the collective goal of reducing emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius can only be achieved if women are part of the response.

As the space for women leaders and women’s organizations shrinks, all leaders—regardless of whether they are in the public or private sector—should commit to increased and sustained support for women’s and girls’ climate change initiatives at all levels: subnational, national, and global.

Meeting the challenges of the climate crisis requires:

• Supporting climate and girls education and promoting the green learning agenda, such as the one launched by the Malala Fund.

• Investing in female entrepreneurship, businesses and grass-roots organizations.

• Advancing climate justice, including by combatting gender norms.

• Building partnerships with women-led initiatives.

• Financing gender data, including on climate.

As others have said before, women’s rights are human rights. It will take not just delegates at COP26, but also the climate ecosystem stakeholders recognizing that we need to go beyond the language already included in the Paris Agreement but broader recognition of how to operationalize human rights for climate action in Article 6 and beyond, for women and girls to be truly equal in climate action.

Innovation and identifying new solutions have been touted as critical to building new solutions to tackle climate change. Ideas crafted by women that address the specific challenges they face due to the climate emergency will be important, yet women-led startups received just 2.3% of VC funding in 2020. Women-led startups employ more women. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic induced she-cession, everyone should be supporting any measure that promotes an equitable recovery and can create jobs for women. And when women-led startups do get funded, they’re more likely to be successful. In summary, as the Harvard Business Review says: Ideas that benefit society have a much greater chance to take off.

If we want to win the fight against the climate emergency, we need to come up with more than just tokenistic representation and put women and girls at the center. The future of climate action is female.

About
Judit Arenas
:
Judit Arenas is a senior director and senior adviser to the Founder and Chairman of APCO Worldwide. She is a seasoned public affairs and strategic communications professional with over 20 years of related experience.
About
Nicole Monge
:
Nicole Monge is a senior associate director in APCO’s Washington office. She has worked with a wide range of clients in the consumer-technology, travel and health care industries, and specializes in a hybrid approach to digital and traditional communications.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

Closing the Gender Gap in Climate Action

Little Amal and Brianna Fruean at the Advancing Gender Equality in Climate Action event, COP26 in Glasgow. Photograph: Will Crowne/ UK Government.

November 9, 2021

Climate change is not gender neutral. Women face greater risks and burdens from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty, and the effects of the climate emergency are being shaped by pervasive and entrenched gender inequality, write Judit Arenas and Nicole Monge from COP26.

C

limate change is not gender neutral: it disproportionately impacts women and girls. Women face greater risks and burdens from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty, and the effects of the climate emergency are being shaped by pervasive and entrenched gender inequality. Aside from the direct negative impacts on women and girls, climate change also exacerbates existing inequalities, including poverty and gender inequality.

But women and girls are also agents of change—a force that needs to be unleashed to make climate ambition a reality. Without gender equality and the full empowerment of women and girls, effective climate policy and action will remain an unattainable dream.

Climate solutions need to be crafted with them at the table. Women and girls must be supported to implement them and have access and control to land and natural resources and be able to get an equitable share of benefits from such resources.

Key to effective climate action is the full participation of women and girls—not just in decision-making processes but also in program design and implementation financing and supply chains for climate action. Women are sorely underrepresented in national governance and in climate-related portfolios: only 7.3% of global climate ministerial roles are held by women. And this trickles down across the decision-making chain across all sectors.

In decision-making processes, women and girls are not just underrepresented they are all too often side-lined. Even within the COP26 climate summit itself, diversity is not a thing. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said COP26 is “too male, too pale, too stale".

Gender balance is still an aspirational goal for the majority of COP delegations that remain at 75 percent male to 25 percent female. Even more worrying, a new report by UNFCCC showed that 74% of speaking time in plenary is taken by men.

With such high ambitions, it is clear that the collective goal of reducing emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius can only be achieved if women are part of the response.

As the space for women leaders and women’s organizations shrinks, all leaders—regardless of whether they are in the public or private sector—should commit to increased and sustained support for women’s and girls’ climate change initiatives at all levels: subnational, national, and global.

Meeting the challenges of the climate crisis requires:

• Supporting climate and girls education and promoting the green learning agenda, such as the one launched by the Malala Fund.

• Investing in female entrepreneurship, businesses and grass-roots organizations.

• Advancing climate justice, including by combatting gender norms.

• Building partnerships with women-led initiatives.

• Financing gender data, including on climate.

As others have said before, women’s rights are human rights. It will take not just delegates at COP26, but also the climate ecosystem stakeholders recognizing that we need to go beyond the language already included in the Paris Agreement but broader recognition of how to operationalize human rights for climate action in Article 6 and beyond, for women and girls to be truly equal in climate action.

Innovation and identifying new solutions have been touted as critical to building new solutions to tackle climate change. Ideas crafted by women that address the specific challenges they face due to the climate emergency will be important, yet women-led startups received just 2.3% of VC funding in 2020. Women-led startups employ more women. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic induced she-cession, everyone should be supporting any measure that promotes an equitable recovery and can create jobs for women. And when women-led startups do get funded, they’re more likely to be successful. In summary, as the Harvard Business Review says: Ideas that benefit society have a much greater chance to take off.

If we want to win the fight against the climate emergency, we need to come up with more than just tokenistic representation and put women and girls at the center. The future of climate action is female.

About
Judit Arenas
:
Judit Arenas is a senior director and senior adviser to the Founder and Chairman of APCO Worldwide. She is a seasoned public affairs and strategic communications professional with over 20 years of related experience.
About
Nicole Monge
:
Nicole Monge is a senior associate director in APCO’s Washington office. She has worked with a wide range of clients in the consumer-technology, travel and health care industries, and specializes in a hybrid approach to digital and traditional communications.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.