Gender-sensitive efforts crucial to tackling climate change
- Women are key stakeholders in building climate change resilience
- Climate and gender cut across various sectors in project assessments
- Gender mainstreaming may result in lower investments, studies show
This was the overarching message in the workshop by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) held 16 October, and part of the week-long Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum.
"Gender transformative design results in cost-effective outcomes when building resilience to climate change through increased awareness and adoption of resilient practices," said Amy Reggers, gender and climate change programme development and research, UN Women.
“Gender transformative design results in cost-effective outcomes when building resilience to climate change through increased awareness and adoption of resilient practices”
Amy Reggers, UN Women
Reggers said that the amount of investments poured into climate change and gender may be difficult to determine given that both thematic areas cut across various sectors. "Gender is a crosscutting issue. Climate change is a crosscutting issue. It's very hard to say how much of what we are spending goes into climate change or gender,” she said.
Nisha Onta, Asia coordinator for Women Organising for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, Bangkok, agreed that it was important to conduct economic assessments of gender integration in climate change interventions. "If things don't get measured they are not valued,” she said.
The question, however, is whether an economic assessment is the most critical aspect in terms of gender mainstreaming in adaptation. For Onta, while looking at the financing is important, human rights should not be ignored. "If there are no gender interventions, we would be overburdening women."
At the same time, there are costs that may not have monetary value. Laurence Levaque, gender focal of ADB, pointed out that there will always be costs in gender mainstreaming, and these may come in the form of time and setting up mechanisms to provide women a platform for participation. According to Srinivasan Ancha, principal climate change specialist of ADB, climate change interventions do not affect men and women equally and various studies have shown that women are more vulnerable to the effects of disaster than men. An IUCN fact sheet suggests, for example, that deaths in disasters were directly linked with gender — particularly women's economic and social rights.
A study presented by UN Women indicates that incorporating gender sensitivity in climate change initiatives may be cost-efficient in the long run. The study mapped three climate change adaptation projects in Bangladesh on a "gender-aware continuum" to find that gender mainstreaming measures may result in lower financial investments.
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Asia & Pacific desk.