Gender perspectives on climate change

Renewable, clean energy and gender equality are preconditions for sustainable development and for tackling climate change. Women’s knowledge, empowerment and collective action are central to finding and building more environmentally sustainable pathways to manage our environment; to adapt to climate change; and to secure access to sustainable energy.

It is clear that gender, environment and climate change are cross-cutting issues that need to be addressed simultaneously to achieve sustainable development goals and to address existing inequalities. Although positive changes are emerging, several challenges remain to integrating gender issues more comprehensively into climate and energy policies in Africa, and to linking such policies more closely to programming and budgeting to ensure implementation of those activities.

Recognizing this challange the UNDP-UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) and UN Women have collected their experiences in a new draft working paper 'Empowering Women for Sustainable Energy Solutions to address Climate Change.' The draft Working Paper draws on the experiences of both organizations and aims to present potential solutions to the implementation challenge of gender-sensitive environment and climate change policies and development programming.

The Working Paper was first shared during the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) in Paris on 6 December 2015. At the GLF, PEI and UN Women joined the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)-hosted gender pavillion which brought together several organizations working on the gender-environment nexus. The Gender Pavillion was well visited and offered an opportunity for PEI and UN Women to share their experiences of working on the gender-environment nexus with civil society organizations, academia and policy makers.

Arafa Mwamba Halfani is a Solar Engineer from Mtwara, Tanzania. At the GLF Arafa explained how she with the support of UN Women participated in a six-month training course on how to install and maintain solar energy panels at the Barefoot College in India. Following the training, Arafa returned to Mtwara and installed solar lighting units in households providing a new clean source of energy and an income for Arafa.

A side effect of the lighting project is increase in women’s voice and independence. The solar engineers and other women members of the village solar energy committees are now active participants in village meetings and strong role models. The men recognize that women can have skills, earn money and be productive community members – a recognition that opens the door for women to pursue other income-generating activities as well. Arafa says that “I was not able to talk in public with confidence before but now I can do it with complete confidence.”

The draft Working Paper may be accessed from our Publication's page:

Event Date: 
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Paris, France