Gender Inequality Is Rife in Climate Change Policy

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Image: Shutterstock / Youri Appelman

Gender Equality and Climate change are two of the most pressing issues of our time. Many of us might not understand just how deeply the two are linked.

New Research from James Cook University has undertaken a review of 6 years’ worth of climate change and gender literature. The report found four common gender assumptions made in climate change policy worldwide, effectively hindering attempts to address gender inequality as our climate warms.

The assumptions include; women’s inherently caring nature and connection to ‘Mother earth’, the treatment of men and women as homogenous groups, equating the presence of more women in development projects as a direct translation of positive outcomes and treating gender equality as purely a women’s issue.

The impacts of these lingering gender assumptions in our action on climate change are mainly felt by those living in low and middle income countries. A recent Nicaraguan initiative, wrongly assumed water collection was purely a women’s job, leaving male widowers more susceptible to water scarcity.

International Women’s Day provides us with the opportunity to reflect on how far gender equality has come in our global community. It also, As Dr Lau explains, lets us envision how institutions may begin to shed these unhelpful and outdated assumptions to address gender equality in climate change policy.

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