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Gender Discrimination Hinders Climate Crisis Mitigation

Dive into the stark realities of climate change-induced health vulnerability in India. A groundbreaking district-level study reveals disparities in exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacities, urging immediate multi-sectoral policy responses for a more equitable and resilient future.

Despite some progress in addressing gender discrimination, major environmental, economic, and social challenges threaten to undermine efforts towards women’s empowerment worldwide. Discriminatory social institutions across 179 countries continue to hinder progress towards gender equality, impacting women’s roles in climate resilience, agriculture, and disaster risk reduction, said latest report.

The  Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) 2023 Global Report: Gender Equality in Times of Crisis by OECD highlights the urgent need for transformative actions to combat gender disparities and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

CHALLENGES IN ADVANCING GENDER EQUALITY

Despite legal reforms aimed at dismantling discriminatory practices, gender inequality remains pervasive globally. Approximately 40% of women reside in countries with high or very high levels of discrimination, leading to significant disparities in workplace power dynamics. While some progress has been made in implementing political gender quotas, women’s representation in high-level positions remains low, with only 15% heading firms and 25% holding management roles.

GENDER DISCRIMINATION AND CLIMATE CRISIS

The SIGI report highlights how gender discrimination hampers global efforts to address the climate crisis. Unequal access to land ownership, decision-making, and unpaid care work hinder women’s engagement in climate resilient agriculture, renewable energy, and disaster risk reduction. Empowering women as agents of change can enhance the world’s capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON WOMEN

The report also sheds light on how climate change disproportionately affects women. During disasters, women and children face higher risks, being 14 times more likely to die than men are. In the aftermath of disasters, they encounter additional threats such as gender-based violence, early marriages, and loss of livelihoods and access to education. Climate events like drought and land degradation directly impact millions of women working in agriculture and rural areas, increasing their burdens and limiting opportunities.

ROLE OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND EMPOWERMENT

Indigenous women possess valuable expertise in environmental and conservation initiatives, offering innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, empowering women in agriculture and providing them equal access to resources can significantly enhance the productivity of women-owned farms in developing countries.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

The SIGI 2023 Global Report advocates concrete policy measures for public, private, philanthropic, and civil society stakeholders, including:

  • Enacting or reforming laws to promote gender equality and eliminating discriminatory provisions, including informal and customary ones.
  • Transforming discriminatory social norms and involving men and boys in promoting gender equality.
  • Enhancing access to information on disaster risk mitigation and addressing gender biases in the energy sector.
  • Long-term financing for gender equality, including support for feminist movements and grassroots organizations.
  • Improving data collection on gender-disaggregated and intersectional indicators to inform targeted interventions.

Gender discrimination remains a significant barrier to achieving gender equality and effectively combating the climate crisis. The SIGI 2023 Global Report emphasizes the need for comprehensive policy interventions, international collaboration, and empowerment of women to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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