PSN's call for gender day at COP21

December 8, 2015

On COP21's gender day, PSN calls for a global agreement on climate change that is equitable and gender-responsive and recognises the important role of women in climate solutions.


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Hear our call

Climate change does not affect men and women equally. Though some may argue that natural disasters such as floods do not discriminate, but rather wash away anyone in their path; young, old, men, women and children; they are contingent on economic, social and cultural relations and therefore have highly gendered effects. In developed and developing nations, poor and disadvantaged women are unequally affected by natural disasters and over-represented in death tolls. 

Climate change related disasters are forcing families to find quick solutions and women and girls often bear the brunt. In Bangladesh, young women and girls are being married off at very young ages during post-flood devastation as families hope to secure young women’s future, thus perpetuating early marriage and other harmful practices that severely limit women’s and girls’ reproductive and sexual health.

Women play an important role in the management and use of natural resources; their responsibilities of fetching water, food, and fuelwood for cooking, for example, makes them acutely aware of the state of the environment and the devastating effects of environmental degradation, including climate change.

Women, therefore, can be powerful agents of change through adaptation and mitigation activities in their households, workplaces, communities and countries. Indeed, to effectively, efficiently, and equitably respond to climate change, countries must develop gender-responsive mitigation and adaptation strategies- not least because women are among those disproportionately and adversely affected and are seldom included in relevant decision making processes to identify and implement climate solutions.

Universal access to voluntary sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services is vital to ensuring gender equality. Not only does it enable women and men to choose if, when and how many children to have but it also ensures that women are able to actively participate in society and the economy, to the betterment of society and the environment. For example, Population, Health and Environment programmes are a practical approach to building climate resilient communities.

In the remaining days of the climate negotiations, Ministers and other negotiators must seize the unique opportunity to affirm that gender equality, women’s empowerment and their full and equal participation are crucial and indispensable to transformational climate response and action.

As PSN, we are calling for a global agreement on climate change that is equitable and gender-responsive and recognises the important role of women in climate solutions.