Gender Day in COP21- Discovering Gender Responsiveness

Women could play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions by using their knowledges and stewards on natural and household resources. I attended a workshop during Gender Day about the solution on the policy making level organised by Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , called the “Reality check – how tools, guidance, finance and cooperation under the UNFCCC support implementation of gender- responsive policy on the ground”.

The session explored on how the recommendations from the Expert Group Meeting in Bonn, November 2015 builds on a UN toolkit on gender-responsive National Communications. This session was pretty technical and new to me- so many “first time”.

It was my first time coming across the how to incorporate gender equity in policy making. Key issues for gender-responsive climate action for sustainable development includes:

  • The case for gender main streaming in climate policy and action;
  • Incorporation of gender considerations in technology-related processes and mechanisms; and
  • Incorporation of gender perspectives in climate finance. It never came across my mind that gender and technology or even climate finance can be related.

I met with Sunitha from National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) Malaysia- someone that I could talk to on gender issues.

I learnt that technology is not gender-neutral. All these inequalities and stereotypes of technology being male-dominant, especially in cases of heavily mechanised sectors, will lead to the inadequate reflection of gender considerations in the development, transfer and diffusion of climate technologies as well as the implementation of Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) and other technology-related mechanisms and processes in the UNFCCC.

For instance, lack of participation of women in assessing climate technology needs in developing countries, e.g. in the development and promotion of solar cook stoves, can result in the slow adoption of the technology. In addition, gender equality considerations must become integral to technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation in order to reverse the potentially harmful misperception of technology as gender-neutral, and overcome the false association of small-scale, household- based and traditional technologies as more relevant to women and the large-scale technology infrastructures as the domain of men.

As for climate finance; I learnt that women would have to stay at home to take care of their family members while man normally have more freedom to migrate due to work.

In agricultural areas, women are also the ones mainly responsible for crops production. Climate change which widely affect the food production will have to make women to do more work but for lesser food. This further leads to women’s less economic independent as compare to man, which also reduces their financial capacity to adapt to changes- such as to prepare more storage for food; or to repair house parts.

I have learnt that it is particularly unfortunate that women are less likely than men to receive funding for climate-related initiatives. Compounding the problem is that most funders do not have adequate programs or systems in place to support women and their solutions for climate change at the grassroots. That less than 1% of all worldwide grants go to projects at the intersection of women and climate is a clear reflection of this critical funding gap.

So, back to my personal reflection- Gender Day indeed is an emotional yet informative day for me. So many “first time” moment and I am glad that I learnt something out of it! All in all, it was a fruitful day especially on the great combination of the sessions that I have attended- from hearing the voices of direct victims to understanding what had been done from both community and the international side. I am looking forward at the outcome incorporating gender equality in combating climate change with this comprehensive approach of both bottom-up and top-down approach.

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT http://unfccc.int/files/gender_and_climate_change/application/pdf/undp_gender_responsive_national_communications_toolkit.pdf)

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT)

Written by: Emily Oi
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