Gender inequality and climate change are interconnected. Here’s the gender tools can help us understand the relationship between climate change and gender.
Climate change is not a gender-neutral issue. The impact of climate change exacerbates gender inequalities and continues to pose a disproportionate risk to women and girls, their health, wellbeing, and safety. During this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) event, the theme focused on gender equality within the context of climate change, environmental policies, and disaster risk reduction programs.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change and environmental disasters, yet persistent gender data gaps hinder research on how climate change exacerbates social, political, and economic tensions.
The EMERGE project at UC San Diego’s Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) joined Data2X and the World Bank at CSW to discuss the challenges of understanding the nexus of gender and the environment, and possible tools individuals could use to bridge these knowledge gaps. The following four open-access tools were shared at the CSW session that stakeholders can use to supplement research, planning, and policy formulation :
RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS
First, there are the Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality (EMERGE) platforms. This tool provides an open access repository of survey measures on gender equality and empowerment compiled by researchers at the GEH. It helps researchers and practitioners assess gender inequities and monitor UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The site lets you filter survey items and scales by thematic areas, like environment and sustainability. Users can also filter by country, length, and psychometric strength of the measures to find the most relevant ones for their context. Researchers can identify, adapt and develop surveys that consider the gendered effects of climate change in their context by using these features. For example, the Climate Change Anxiety Scale evaluates people’s emotional response to climate change. The measure has four sub-scales, including cognitive and emotional impairment, functional impairment, personal experience of climate change, and behavioral engagement.
Tool 2 : Gender Data Solutions Inventory
Open Data Watch and Data2X’s new Gender Data Solutions Inventory, released in conjunction with the Solutions to Close Gender Data Gaps report, includes 140 practical, replicable solutions to help fill evidence gaps across development domains, including the environment. Readers can refer to these examples when considering choices for tackling environmental gender data gaps. A few environmental tools mentioned in this inventory include:
- CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA): CARE’s RGA is a survey tool to understand the gendered impacts of climate disasters and has been used to evaluate climate crisis and food security in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
- 50×2030 Guide on Survey Tools: This guide outlines two modules for measuring gender parity in ownership and tenure rights over agricultural land (SDG 5.a.1).
- The Gender Climate Tracker App: is app provides decision-makers with regular updates on gender policies, mandates, research, decisions, and actions related to climate change and gender. Additionally, citizens and civil society groups can also use this tracker to hold governments accountable.
The RGA database has data on COVID-19’s socioeconomic impact. Users can use the UN Women’s RGA database to explore data on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in more than 50 countries. To capture gender differences in the COVID-19 pandemic, this database also reveals important information about the intersection of gender and the environment. For example, the RGA in Asia and the Pacific found that women are less likely to use the internet, which is crucial for early warning information on environmental disasters. The RGA also provides information about climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and tourism, which can be useful for climate action and planning.
Tool 4 : World Bank Gender Data Portal
The fourth tool, the newly launched World Bank Gender Data Portal, gathers over 900 gender indicators in an easily accessible and usable format. This initiative has made the available sex-disaggregated data easier to analyze and visualize. The portal includes useful resources such as the Gender and ICT survey toolkit practitioners can utilize for developing data collection instruments. In addition, the report includes country-level data on gender data availability in the form of a dashboard that can be useful for funders in identifying gaps and formulating funding strategies to fill them.
There is a section on the portal’s environment that discusses indicators critical to understanding the nexus between gender and climate change. For example, they also have data on how unsafe water, sanitation, and ambient pollution affect mortality – by gender. The availability of this crucial data to multiple audiences will facilitate its use in policymaking, advocacy, and research.
In order to fight climate change, we need to better understand gender and climate change. Understanding this relationship would require us to find answers to essential questions such as: how does climate change impact women differently? How can policies adapt a gendered lens to mitigate such differences? What role can women play in addressing this crisis?
While the existing data gap hinders our ability to answer these and other critical questions, these emerging tools give changemakers resources they can use to address gaps in measurement related to gender and environment. Having access to these tools is only the first step. We need to work on mechanisms that support data democratization and its use. This will enable us to build and support effective program development and policymaking related to addressing the effects of climate change globally.
In conclusion, gender vulnerabilities to climate change are not due to female characteristics but rather result from inequities in multiple gender dimensions including women’s economic empowerment, time use, reproductive rights, and agency. Thus, the use of these tools should be viewed in this light to address the multiple dimensions of gender inequities in climate change.
Lead image courtesy of Abir Abdullah / EPA A woman wades through flood waters in the aftermath of Cyclone Aila in Harinagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh in 2009.
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