Report
10 Jan 2020
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Climate change, gender equality and human rights in Asia: regional review and promising practices

UN Women Camille Pross, Jenny Yi-Chen Han, Dayoon Kim and Sara Vigil (S...+1 more
UN Women
Camille Pross, Jenny Yi-Chen Han, Dayoon Kim and Sara Vigil (Stockholm Environment Institute)
Western Pacific Region
25 mins
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What you'll learn
Climate change and gender inequality
  • This report aims to provide a better understanding for policymakers in Asia of human rights and gender equality in the context of climate change
  • It presents a review of scientific evidence and case studies from Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam
  • It address the following three research questions:
    • What are the gendered and human rights implications of climate change on key livelihood sectors, and how are climate policies addressing or overlooking these issues?
    • Are there examples of best practices and lessons learned on how to integrate human rights and gender equality in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts?
    • How can climate policies and policymaking processes better integrate gender-transformative and human rights-based approaches to address underlying power imbalances and inequalities that lead to vulnerability and marginalisation?
Understanding the gendered impacts of climate change
Climate change affects gender equality
Climate change poses a grave threat to gender equality and human rights, including the fundamental rights to health and life. Using an intersectional lens, this report aims to provide a better understanding for policymakers in Asia of human rights and gender equality in the context of climate change.
A young boy sits and holds up a peace sign in Bangladesh.

Women’s access to renewable energy has not only contributed to improving their health and security, but also reduced their time poverty, enabling them to take part in income-generating activities and to challenge gender norms at the local level.

Key Takeaways
1
The report illustrates that the gendered impacts of climate change overall centres on three broad themes
The report illustrates that the gendered impacts of climate change overall centres on three broad themes
Unequal power dynamics and norms in both the private and public sphere: e.g., women are disproportionately responsible for unpaid care and domestic work, which means they bear the brunt of climate change impacts on households, including the health impacts of water scarcity and food shortages; Discriminatory laws and customs: e.g., patrilineal customary land tenure systems across Asia expose rural women to insecure land tenure and risk of landlessness, which reduces their livelihood options and capacities to adapt to climate change; 3) Unequal access to and control of resources: e.g., gendered access to resources (including land, water, food crops, etc.) shape differentiated vulnerabilities.
2
Adopt an intersectional lens
Adopt an intersectional lens
Importantly, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequalities in all sectors have consequences for specific groups of people.
3
The case studies highlight key enablers, successes, and challenges of rights-based and gender transformative climate action
The case studies highlight key enablers, successes, and challenges of rights-based and gender transformative climate action
Enablers include, for example, national climate change frameworks recognising human rights and gender equality as core principles, including through mandating roles of women in decision-making. An example of success is increased access to clean energy contributing to improving women’s health, security, and access to information, decreasing their time poverty, and creating new opportunities for income-generating activities. Among the main challenges is the lack of an intersectional lens which results in overlooking the needs and rights of marginalised groups, such as landless women, women from ethnic minorities, or girls with disabilities.
4
The report offers policy recommendations organised under four key actions
The report offers policy recommendations organised under four key actions
1) Formulate holistic policies to tackle climate change, human rights violations, and gender inequality – including through investing in health sector resilience, ensuring human resources to deliver health care, and training health care workers to identify, prevent, and address climate-related diseases; 2) Ensure multi-stakeholder cooperation to implement holistic policies and programs; 3) Prioritise actions that redress social and gender inequalities through transformative programs; 4) Support research to inform evidence-based policies and programs.

Already marginalised people, such as the poor, migrants, women and other gendered groups, are more vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

A young boy sits and holds up a peace sign in Bangladesh.

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