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Gender and Climate Essay

Introduction

Climate is the long-term weather condition that occurs for a long period of time in a specific area. Climate of an area determines characteristics of economic and human activities in a given area. Climate also influences human activities within a given locality. Gender is a term used to refer to the way both male and female parties are involved in daily activities be it on the global or local scale. It is usually a term used to discourage discrimination of an individual based on his or her sex orientation (Simavi, Manuel, & Blackden, 2010). Gender equity is the way people distribute resources and treat all individuals with equal measures regardless of sex. There is a significant relationship between gender and climate of a particular area since gender plays a critical role in determining effects of the climate change. Gender is also a major factor in climate mitigation and adaptation by being a multiplier in all policies and decision-making processes that relate to gender (Lal et al., 2014).

Climate change refers to the long-lasting variation of climatic conditions of the planet due to human and natural factors resulting in natural calamities. It may not be destructive, but the impact on vulnerable members of the society and women cannot be ignored. These categories of people include marginalized members of the society who do not have necessary skills or knowledge of coping with adverse changes brought about by climate (Willetts, Guadagno, & Ikkala, 2010). Gender is therefore a major challenge when it comes to mitigating and implementing adaptation measures relating to climate. This essay seeks to highlight a critical role played by gender in the process of mitigating as well as adapting to climate issues. It will look at challenges faced by women keenly while bringing on board vulnerable members of the community when a need to respond to changes of climate arises. Effects of marginalization of women and children in policies, decision making, and implementation of projects will also be analyzed. In addition, this paper will provide recommendations on how the world and various governments can solve problems relating to the climate of the planet

Historical Background

For a long period of time, climate has experienced a lot of changes that have the ability of affecting lives of human beings and other organisms that live on the planet. Climate change may frustrate the world’s effort of achieving sustainability when it threatens conditions of the environment in various localities on the planet. Most of the climate conditions have been found to be related to human practices and daily lifestyles. Climate change, one of the results of human activities, has become one of the most challenging global concerns due to negative effects that it has on the world. Some of these effects include global warming (Lal et al., 2014). The rise in the level of seas, melting of glaciers, thawing of the permafrost, flooding, and seasonal shifts have adversely affected biodiversity, livelihood, as well as aquatic and marine life. Scarce food and drinking water are likely to be a challenge in countries that are developing due to negative effects of climate changes. Other effects of harsh conditions brought about by climate are change in patterns of weather, a lot of floods, and adverse weather conditions. It is for this reason that the world has deemed it wise to incorporate the gender mainstreaming policy so that all men and women are brought on board when combating effects of climate change (Motilal & Bijayalaxmi, 2006).

Relationship between Climate and Gender

Effects caused by climate are diverse and depend on gender, political authority, social status, and accessibility of resources that will enable people to adapt well to harsh and adverse conditions of climate. Both female and male members of the community have different expertise and skills used in mitigating changes of climate to achieve sustainability. Furthermore, female counterparts are considered to have little economic, political, and legal experience that they can use when coping with and tackling adverse challenges of climatic conditions. Therefore, the only way that people can make the response to climatic conditions more effective is through empowering women through skills, knowledge, and experience (Motilal & Bijayalaxmi, 2006). The problem of gender inequality and poor socio-economic status that keeps on recurring has made it very difficult for women to properly adapt to climate of their habitats. Even as the world struggles so hard to achieve what has been described as the climatic regime of post-Kyoto, mitigations and efforts of adaptation must incorporate the issue of gender at all levels of implementation.

The world will be able to minimize risks that children and women are exposed to and thus realize success in addressing climatic concerns. Studies have shown that participation of women in climate mitigation and the manner of their participation maters a lot. How much the woman contributes is measured through efforts she puts in place to ensure that she conserves the environment, her involvement in political affairs, and her participation in activities of the NGOs that will make her a pro-environmental leader. These will increase her ability to contribute towards mitigation of climate changes. The UNDP has also encouraged women to actively participate in realization of one of the goals relating to millennium development through various activities to create a multiplier effect in climate change (Mearns & Norton, 2010).

Women’s activities in food production, community management, biodiversity conservation, and management of scarce natural resources together with care and education they offer to the young ones make them be at the core of all sustainable development initiatives. They conserve energy and water when performing all house chores and actively participate in agricultural practices that are sustainable within countries that are already at the developed stage. All this makes women recognized and gives them credit as an essential pillar to solving hazardous climate problems. This is because women are considered as agents of positive change in the society.

Gender Discrimination

Gender plays a critical role in mitigation of problems of climate change since it is closely related to climate change. Women together with the poorest depend so much on livelihood that is climate-sensitive, making them the most vulnerable whenever climate change strikes. In addition, women together with the poor in the society lack necessary resources used in adapting to harsh climatic conditions. They do not have the ability to afford better shelter or grow crops that are drought-resistant. The diminishing capacity to adapt to the climate makes women and the poor more vulnerable and this has forced then to resort to unsustainable practices that have an adverse effect on the environment and climate.

Climate has never been neutral to gender and has forced women to depend heavily on natural resources as the main aspect of their livelihood (Mearns & Norton, 2010). Women have the responsibility of acquiring food, firewood, and other essentials that pose a huge challenge and vulnerability for women. Accessibility to natural resources that are scarce and the process involved in making decisions remain gender-biased. This has reduced mobility of resources within rural localities. The world has been forced to identify and implement strategies, which champion gender sensitivity to help address several challenges relating to climate.

 

Gaps within the Economy

Gaps that exist in the economy has alienated males from females, creating discrepancies witnessed in gender, and has further created a lot of rift in the way these two groups of people are exposed to vulnerable and very harsh climate. This situation has been worsened by inequality, asset distribution, financial services, and credit facilities, making women unable to access opportunities. A global gap has been seen in terms of earning capacities and productivity of female members. Legal constraints imposed by countries have hindered the woman’s ability to access opportunities as well. This has had a negative effect on efforts of mitigating and adopting climate change measures given the fact that women form two thirds of the world’s total population. Most women do not own land and are forced to venture into poor agricultural practices. This further creates a significant negative impact on climate of their habitat (Masika, 2002).

Poverty, Socio-Cultural and Political Affiliations

Poverty and political and economic barriers have also made women incapable of coping with adverse effects that come as a result of climate that keeps on changing. Women are sidelined when it comes to making policies and decisions relating to climate. They are therefore incapacitated and cannot influence programs, policies, and decisions that have an impact on their lifestyle. There are some communities that have socio-cultural norms that hinder women from acquiring information and skills that could one way or another help them escape the hazardous climate (Masika, 2002).

In such communities, women are not allowed to swim or climb trees. In other instances, female dress code may not allow them move with swift speed, thus limiting their mobility. Women are responsible in a social manner to the young ones and must carry them all along their way. Women have thus been disproportionately subjected to vulnerable climate concerns. Responses to climate must also be able to address current and historic disadvantages facing women. This will help reduce barriers created by legal, socio-cultural, and economic factors that incapacitate women’s ability to actively participate in mitigation and adaptation of climate.

Critical Data for Gender Mainstreaming

There is also lack of data relating to sex disaggregation like disaster, livelihood, health, environmental protection, well-being, and preparedness, which have led to women being underestimated in the society. Women are yet to be prepared in situations when decisions are made. This has deterred them from being able to participate meaningfully in the process of making decisions relating to mitigations and adaptations. The global income of women is far lower than that of men, creating a big gap in the economy.

Children and women are the ones who are greatly affected whenever any natural disaster strikes. This is attributed to the climate change programming and policy that is gender-biased. A differential role attributed to men and women regarding their challenges, needs, and priorities has further contributed to the increasing gender-based vulnerability of women.

Active Participation in Local and International Levels

Despite all these challenges, it is important to note that women have contributed immensely to climate mitigation through management of natural resources. They supplement their effort through activities that are productive both at the community level and in households. Through this, they are capable of contributing to strategies that, when adopted, will help change the realities pertaining to the environment and climate of their habitat. Women also have extensive expertise and knowledge useful in mitigation of climate changes. They are capable of applying these skills to adaptation strategies and reduction of disaster occurrences (Hage, 2001). This makes women real agents of change people desire to achieve as far as climate of the planet is concerned.

It is important to note that research has proven that women help communities fare better in situations when they are leaders who warn about an impending disaster. They are always ready to share information concerning the communities’ welfare and, when need arises, they are capable of adapting easily to the climate so as to save the family. In addition, women use energy sources that are very efficient. They usually show a lot of strength and capability during the cycle of desires relating to climatic concerns. Women are always prepared for disasters and know how to manage such critical situations. Women have shown active involvement in building broken livelihoods by providing basic needs to the family, making them indispensable in issues regarding climate. This has led to the international community speeding up the campaign to sensitize the world on the need of gender mainstreaming to achieve gender equality. This has worked well in terms of eliminating gender-based barriers, which has led to strengthening of the global policy on climate change.

Training and Capacity Building and Women Empowerment

In order to help bridge up the gender gap in the society, an in-depth analysis has been conducted to reveal the role that women and men play in areas that have faced the strategies of coping with climate. This has helped improve understanding of both men and women about their ability and roles in policy analysis and implementation of programs that are geared towards addressing climate. Integrating the perspective of gender in all climate programs will help effectively address priorities and needs of women and men. This will in turn ensure meaningful participation of women in order to achieve equal outcomes that are gender-compliant.

All actions that are taken regarding climate must be done in consultation with female members of the society. Their knowledge and skills need to be incorporated so that opportunities are provided, which = will help in improving education, livelihood, and health. Women will be able to bring in more productive and environmental gains, creating mutual returns and benefits. Increasing involvement of women in mitigation and adaptations will increase sustainability and efficiency of efforts (Priyam, Menon, & Banerjee, 2009). In execution and planning of policies and projects relating to climate, it is important to consider issues concerning gender and women. Vulnerability, gender-based inequality, and poverty must be addressed for the humanity to achieve climate sustainability.

The central role played by women in the society, climate, environment, and economic development makes it necessary to empower women and embrace gender equality. The family and the community at large will realize benefits of women empowerment. Actions taken with the use of technologies, employed strategies, and designs that are being championed must be gender-sensitive. Evaluation, monitoring, and implementation of policies must incorporate women to bridge the gender gap in the society and hence realize climate sustainability (Priyam, Menon, & Banerjee, 2009).

The United Nations and framework on climate change have come up with plans of giving opportunities to women and the vulnerable in the society. This will contribute immensely to the effort of implementing projects that are beneficial to women. The United Nations also suggests that the role played by gender cannot be ignored for the purposes of efficiency, as well as inclusive and effective financing. It does this through information and programming policies (United Nations Environment Program, 2007).

Through this effort, structures that are gender-sensitive, clear-cut projects and tools will be developed for all mechanisms geared towards financing climate change. It is important to develop criteria that are gender-based to help in allocation of funds, identification of projects, and performance of design and objectives (Suchinmayee, 2008).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to recall what Wangari Mathai, the Nobel Prize winner, said: “women hold the key to Climate’s future”. This is indeed true since there is a great relationship between gender and contribution towards mitigation and climate adaptation. Activities that men involve themselves in impact adversely climate compared to women. Women instead are seen as friendly to climate in the way they live and work, making climate concerns a prevalent issue from the perspective of the community. Female members of the society show more concern about climate, using distinct skills, experience, and knowledge in modeling equal climate responses that are sustainable.

The UNFPA has also identified female members of the community as main mobilizers and crusaders against activities that have a negative impact on climate. Therefore, whenever people talk of minimizing emissions that come from activities like degradation or deforestation, they have to implement dreams of Wangari Mathai through bringing women on board. Meaningful female participation in all responses to adapting to climate and the process of making critical decisions must be implemented. The humanity should also work hard to achieve gender mainstreaming so that status of female members of the society is raised

The United Nations Development Program has also mandated gender mainstreaming when adaptation measures are being implemented. Gender components should not be incorporated at a later stage, but should be involved at all stages of climate adaption and mitigation. Mainstreaming agendas will improve effectiveness of gender-sensitive policies and will help reduce isolation of issues relating to gender from effects of climate change. Policy makers need to work with women and men by giving them equal considerations at all levels of addressing climate adaptations and mitigation. Gender inequality has emerged as a physical issue and at the same time a discourse of negotiations when bringing climate mitigation and adaptations into practice. If people need to come up with amicable solutions to the climate change and other concerns of the climate, then they are obliged to work with women through gender mainstreaming.

Recommendation

From the above essay, it is evident how the role played by women is critical in ensuring that the world adapts to climatic concerns and issues. It would be recommended that gender dimensions be incorporated in research and studies that are aimed at finding solutions to issues related to climate. Other approaches like the use of human rights, which champion for the “millennium development goals”, should also be employed as a framework of responding to climate change. The only way that climate concerns can be addressed is by proper linking of adaptation and mitigation measures and funding them equally. However, integrating the issue of gender will greatly boost efforts of addressing consequences caused by adverse climate changes.

Women should be given a chance to occupy male-dominated portfolios where critical debate concerning climate mitigation and adaptations occurs at the policy level, science level, global and local levels. Capacity building should be made available for women through proper training and knowledge dissemination. Data from researches should be made sufficient for the purposes of creating gender awareness through gender mainstreaming. This can only be realized through gender equality and gender policies that are properly enacted.

It is also advisable to reinforce strategies that are applied in climate adaptation through enabling the practice of policies that will be aimed at strengthening the capacity of men and women at local levels. This will ensure that they are capable of comprehending the climate change considered as differential. It will also ensure that indirect impacts as well as direct impacts caused by climate and adaptation strategies or priorities are taken care of. This initiative is geared towards reducing vulnerability of women. There will be a strong and equal participation of men and women in climate adaptation, hence ensuring that gender-sensitivity is realized.

Concerns of vulnerable men and women must be given heard through creation of platforms for decision making within multiplier levels. Projects and adaptation programs relating to climate must be done from the bottom to the top. It is also necessary to recommend that technologies that are gender-sensitive be promoted through creation of institutions that are gender inclusive in all sectors that influence climate. This will help promote efficiency and equity.

In addition, the humanity should also increase accessibility of women and the vulnerable in the society to critical services like information, training development programs, financial services, and credit facilities. This will help diversify the economy into incomes that are less climate-sensitive to realize security of the livelihood. Of great importance is to create linkage between reduction of disasters that are gender-responsive and planning of adaptation from the local level to the global level. When using instruments and mechanisms of the UNFCCC, it is necessary to apply criteria that are gender-sensitive. The humanity should also embrace the use of action plans of national policies, the NAPAS, in ensuring that diverse priorities of men and women are taken into consideration when monitoring, evaluating, mitigating, and adapting climate problems.

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