Gender inclusive climate action protects women and the vulnerable

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Policymakers and decisionmakers across the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of driving gender inclusive approaches to address social and environmental issues. The international community through the UN Sustainable Development Goals has recognized gender equality under SDG 5 as one of the 17 goals that must be delivered by nations by 2030.

When it comes to tackling climate change, social experts have found that gender imbalance extends to climate change impacts where more women are disproportionately affected. This is due to the continued limitation in their participation in decision making processes that influence their welfare and wellbeing, and thus make them more vulnerable to disasters. 

As the impact of climate change is already being experienced in many parts of the world in the form of extreme weather changes especially in developing countries, there is growing concern that adaptation strategies must be gender inclusive. It should address the needs of the community, the vulnerabilities of disadvantaged groups, and according to national and regional capabilities.

Gender issues must be understood from the lens of climate resilience and thereby, be the basis of developing policies and mechanisms for climate adaptation. For example, promoting a gender-smart climate finance can bring in significant change and usher the future towards a more socially inclusive and sustainable one. 

For instance, in regions such as Africa where rural communities rely on farming and agriculture to sustain their livelihood as well as meet food security, providing better capacities through facilities and technologies as well as employing sustainable agriculture systems can equip them with the capability to face challenges. Creating climate adaptation solutions that enhance social equity and address gender imbalance protects the vulnerable groups from climate change impacts as well as advanced equality, inclusivity, and diversity.

Adaptation measures that organizations can use to achieve gender balance must include empowering women by enabling them to lead and make decisions. They should be given opportunities to take on the role of engaging with their communities in raising awareness about climate change and their impacts, as well as the gender-focused adaptation policies.

Efforts can also be directed at educating and providing women with access to training. Upgrading their skills, especially in the use of new technologies can open many new opportunities for them. For example, access to renewable energy technologies can greatly empower women and their communities. It would also provide them with leadership capacities to sustain their livelihood as well as create jobs for others within their community.  

Sustainable and green industries can tap the potentials of women to grow a new form of economy that is gender-inclusive. It will also enhance the reach of adaptation solutions to local communities.

More importantly, as women remain the central pillar in family and childcare, gender responsive climate adaptation strategies would ensure their health, safety, and security. 

To make all these ideals a reality, organizations can integrate gender-based indicators and measures in their climate change strategies. Analysing and identifying gender-related impacts of climate change and the opportunities with which women can participate in achieving sustainable initiatives must be examined. Finally, it is important to develop a road map which identifies where the organization can add value to a more gender-balanced climate change adaptation.

Through these processes, women can have a better chance at fighting climate change and establish a level playing field in attaining a more sustainable future for all.