An Ambitious Year for Climate Action Is a Big Year for Women’s Empowerment

By Frank Rijsberman and Ingvild Solvang
Mar 9 2020 (IPS)

This year, the Paris Agreement’s effectiveness as a global
response to the climate crisis is being tested as governments are
preparing to submit more ambitious national targets for mitigation
and adaptation. The combined ambitions of these targets should
match the urgency to strengthening resilience and limiting the
disastrous climate change impacts around the world. The Paris
Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2°C and closer to
1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels. This means reaching a
peak in global emissions shortly and achieving climate neutrality
by 2050, in other words target Net Zero Emissions by 2050.
Achieving this requires stepping up immediate actions that follow
new models of economic growth and development that shift policies
and investments towards low-carbon, green growth solutions.

Promotion of poverty alleviation, gender equality and social
inclusion is embedded in GGGI’s support to our member countries
in this transition. This is in recognition that achievement of
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the Paris Agreement
must align with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities.
Mounting evidence shows that gender equality is an accelerator of
development and of climate action, and GGGI suggests two key
priorities for International Women’s Day 2020. First, increased
investments in climate change adaptation are essential for
livelihoods, food security and disaster risk reduction,
particularly to benefit women and girls, who are disproportionally
impacted by climate change. Second, “A Just Transition” is
needed, particularly in renewable energy, to ensure enhanced
opportunities world over for women to participate in
decision-making and the economy.

Women and girls are more vulnerable to the Climate

The climate crisis impacts men and women differently and given
their different roles in society. In the most climate vulnerable
communities, women’s work and activities tend to be dependent on
natural resources, and climate change results in more effort and
time required to collect water, firewood, and secure food for the
household. Lack of access to sustainable energy services and
productive assets and financial resources are key barriers to the
ability of communities to adapt to a changing climate. With limited
roles in community and household decision-making, and with lesser
access to services and resources globally, women are further
disadvantaged. A study by
estimates that although women constitute 50% of the
global population, they contribute only 37% to the global (formal)
economy. Only 24.5% of the
world’s parliamentarians are women
. And, according to the
Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO)
, only 15% of the world’s
landowners are female. Therefore, GGGI is working to make climate
action work to accelerate gender equality by promoting
gender-responsive plans, policies, technologies and

In Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta, mangrove forests are essential
to people’s lives and livelihoods. The Cyclone Nargis that hit
the Delta in 2008 claimed more than 130,000 lives. Consistent with
a tragic global disaster pattern, 61% of those dead were female
with the number much higher in some villages according to a 2014
post-disaster assessment undertaken by the Government of Myanmar
and partners. This illustrates the gendered nature of climate
disasters. A
UNWOMEN and UNDP review of evidence
highlights how integrated
approaches to political and economic empowerment are needed to
support women participation and leadership in climate action, which
in turns enhances their resilience. In the context of the Myanmar
Delta, mangrove conservation is an essential response to the
climate crisis. GGGI is incorporating these gender perspectives
into its work with the government on developing the case for
community-led forest management, to safeguard men and women’s
equal leadership and sustainable access to forest resources. In
parallel, investments in fishery value chains could have
significant positive impacts on rural women’s livelihoods through
access to finance, technology and markets.

Women Have Untapped Potential in the Transition to
Renewable Energy

A transition to renewable energy is essential to fight the
climate crisis. About three-quarters of the first generation of
NDCs made reference to renewable energy, and this focus is likely
to increase as governments submit more ambitious targets and as the
price of renewable energy has come down significantly in the last 5
years since the first generation of NDCs was prepared. This shift
requires a “just transition”, i.e. support for those who lose
their jobs in the brown economy in the shift towards a green
economy, to ensure a broad-based political will and public support
for driving decarbonization of the economy. GGGI has assessed the
potential for green job creation in Mexico, Indonesia and Rwanda as
a result of the switch to renewable energy in the NDCs of these
countries, and found that considerable employment and economic
opportunities can be created. For example, achieving Mexico’s
renewable energy targets under the NDCs would create 370,000
additional jobs compared to the business-as-usual scenario. While
the number of green jobs gained will likely outpace the numbers of
brown jobs lost, those losing their brown jobs are not the same
people as those gaining new green jobs, and therefore a just
transition is key. Furthermore, by acknowledging the gender
dimension of the renewable energy sub-sector, policymakers have an
opportunity to ensure that women can participate in this expanding
green labor force on equal terms as their male counterparts. An
IRENA report from 2019 estimates that only 32% of the current
global renewable energy workforce are women and that the gender gap
is even wider in technical and senior roles. In a 2020 report on
the emerging wind energy sector, IRENA concludes women constitute
only 21% of the workforce in this sub-sector, which is even lower
that the global average for women in oil and gas (22%). The reasons
for these gender gaps are complex, and the NDC can be an important
instrument to pair climate targets with socio-economic co-benefits
and women’s empowerment. A first step towards closing this gender
gap is to have better quality gender data to drive responsive
polices, for example in public procurement criteria that stimulate
women’s participation in the RE workforce, conducive workplace
policies, and measures to increase the number of women in
energy-related education. In the Mexican State of Sonora, where 21%
of the energy workforce are women, GGGI has engaged with a broad
range of public and private sector stakeholders to explore
opportunities for gender equality in renewable energy sector. This
should ensure a broader talent-base for a growing sector. At the
same time, Mexico has one of the world’s largest gender gaps in
employment generally, and increased women’s participation could
therefore significantly contribute to economic growth and increased

In conclusion, while gender equality and women’s empowerment
are goals, they are also essential enablers of climate action and
development more broadly. While upping climate ambitions in 2020,
we must also step up our efforts to unlock the potential of women
and girls around the world.

The post
An Ambitious Year for Climate Action Is a Big Year for Women’s
appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Frank Rijsberman, Director General, and
Ingvild Solvang, Head of Climate Action and
Inclusive Development, GGGI

The post
An Ambitious Year for Climate Action Is a Big Year for Women’s
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
An Ambitious Year for Climate Action Is a Big Year for Women’s Empowerment