The negative effect of the climate crisis on women and girls is double that of men, the UN global climate change conference COP27 has been told on Gender Day.
Women suffer “first by the crisis itself, and further by a set of enduring repercussions that are specific to women’s lives, and that we must tackle as an equal priority,” said UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous.
She told the conference how accelerated action for the planet necessitates the full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls, in all their diversity. She said: “Without gender equality, there is no climate justice. Gender equality is the crucial missing link in the achievement of all our grand plans.”
Women and girls bring innovative climate actions and other solutions, but current structures are preventing their engagement, so COP27 should respond with credible policy and investment measures that take account of the immediate and longer-term impacts of disaster, she said.
Solutions include using quotas and other measures to increase women’s and girls’ full, equal, and meaningful participation and leadership at all levels of decision-making, and to address inequalities including access to and control of productive resources such as finance, technology, and land. This is especially important for women from poor and marginalized communities.
COP27 should also support a just transition for women through an alternative development model and ensure they receive investment in employment and skills initiatives. “Our best counter-measure to the threat multiplier of climate change is the benefit multiplier of gender equality,” she concluded.
Women are not just helpless victims of climate change, they are powerful agents of change, and their leadership is critical, said Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women in Egypt.
The comments came during the launch of the African Women’s Climate Adaptive Priorities (AWCAP) initiative to support smart and innovative solutions to the consequences of climate change.
According to AWCAP: “The typical barriers for women, such as access to education, limited mobility, and norms and misconceptions, have prevented women from pursuing jobs in more male-dominated fields, such as the energy industry and technologies for adaptation.” The initiative aims to enhance investment in women’s careers and education, especially in areas where women and girls are underrepresented like STEM and ICT. It also supports women-led climate projects, start-ups and technologies, and aims to enhance access to financial and technological resources and increasing eco-opportunities.
YOUNG PEOPLE URGE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
As well as focusing on how women are affected by climate change, COP27 heard from young people who called on political leaders to take heed, take charge, and take action.
Children and youths from 150 counties contributed to A Declaration for Climate Justice which was drawn up by YOUNGO, the official Children and Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The declaration called for key demands on 15 themes, ranging from climate finance and energy to loss and damage, and climate justice. It calls for “an inclusive approach to climate governance that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on our communities and the need for systemic and radical action.”
The Global Youth Statement made three key demands: first of all, COP27 must finally accomplish the goal of adaptation finance and commit to a dedicated finance facility for Loss & Damage for affected people and areas to cope with and recover from the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change. Secondly, COP27 must embrace justice in the transformations ahead towards a climate-resilient future. Finally, it must facilitate international cooperation and dialogue to collectively address the borderless, transnational climate crisis.
The current global energy crisis perfectly exemplifies how energy markets are built on a broken system that leaves the much-needed just energy transition up to geopolitical confrontations and short-term political gains, says the declaration. Therefore, “it is imperative that we decisively transform our societies and economies, and finally end our toxic dependence on fossil fuels.
“We have no more time to lose. Our future literally depends on it.”
- Women are also under-represented in leadership roles in business, but companies are looking to change that, according to research from iResearch Services and TechInformed. It found that 60% of companies surveyed are actively working to appoint more women in senior roles, while 32% said they are working on a strategy to do so.