Planning for Climate Change

REDD+SES as gender-responsive environmental action

Authored by: Marcela Tovar-Restrepo

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415707749
eBook ISBN: 9781315886572
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past twenty years, a broad scientific consensus has emerged on the fact that climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our time, bringing environmental and socio-economic implications that threaten both industrialized and less industrialized world regions. A much smaller community of scholars and practitioners has documented the linkages between climate change and gender inequality, showing differentiated impacts on men and women because of the gender division of labour and differences in use, control, and ownership of assets and natural resources (Masika 2002; Dankelman 2010; Tovar-Restrepo 2010; Arora-Jonsson 2011). The central argument is that climate change exacerbates existing gender inequality and so strategies for addressing it must take into account not only gender but also other intersecting markers of power and identity such as income, ethnicity, race, religion, ability/disability, age, literacy, migratory status, and geographical location (Crenshaw 1989; Khosla and Masaud 2011; Bastia 2014). All of these factors lead to differences in exposure to risk and vulnerability in the face of climate changes. Climate change impacts disproportionately affect poor, rural and indigenous women in non-industrialized countries and yet they are less able to cope and recover than men (Enarson 2000; Dankelman 2009; WEDO-GGCA-IUCN-UNDP 2009). Thanks to the work of many women’s advocacy organizations, some gender-sensitive policies have been included in multilateral climate change and environmental agreements such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+; see Box 28.1). However, even though there have been a few improvements in this regard, climate change planning continues to ignore debates on gender and fails to address differentiated vulnerability, impacts, and resilience conditions between men and women.

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