Environment & Biodiversity

Why do women need to be involved in climate action?

Women have historically been underrepresented at UN climate change conferences, and the COP 27 gathering in Egypt this year was no exception. During the summit, only seven women leaders were there out of the 110 people in attendance, as shown in a snapshot of the heads of state and government who were attending the event that quickly gained popularity on social media.

Women participation

  • According to a BBC research, women make up a very small fraction of committee members in negotiation rooms—only 34%, to be exact—with certain country teams having more than 90% men.
  • Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which monitors women’s participation in climate forums, reports that the current COP27 figures reflected one of the lowest concentrations of women ever observed at the UN climate summit.
  • Despite countries’ collective vow to boost female representation at these negotiations starting in 2011, the number of women participating has decreased. In fact, this number has dropped from a peak of 40% women’s involvement during COP24 in 2018.
  • Skewed gender ratio in negotiations on important climate topics: These negotiations on important climate issues included funding, limiting the use of fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions, etc. This skewed gender ratio, however, followed the general trend throughout delegation teams.

Climate action needs women

  • Women are most disproportionately affected by disasters because they experience greater economic consequences, carry a heavier burden of unpaid care and domestic work, have less access to resources, and are pressured to drop out of school or get married young to help manage the family’s financial stress. As a result, women are most disproportionately affected by disasters.
  • Domestic home duties deteriorate during disasters: During floods, droughts, or other climate-related crises, it is much harder for them to provide their family with water, food, and fuel, forcing them to go farther and risking their own health.
  • According to recent research from ActionAid, gender-based violence against women is made more likely as a result of climate change, which will have negative effects on their reproductive as well as psychological health.
  • The pursuit of gender equality and the goal of sustainable development are mutually exclusive; none can be accomplished without the other.
  • Taking into account the many roles women play in the management of natural resources: Just like any other group, women have an impact on the management of natural resources as a whole through the roles they play in the economy, in families, and in society. Thus, it is essential that they participate in climate negotiations in order to ensure the creation and application of a balanced strategy for the various facets of sustainable development, such as the economic, social, and environmental ones.
  • Women and girls have played a transformative role in climate change adaptation and mitigation for centuries. They have also been at the forefront of movements for environmental and climate justice, putting forth some of the most innovative and successful strategies for the promotion of sustainable energy transitions that support the preservation of local systems and are based on human needs.
  • Corporate boardrooms with a greater gender diversity led to the adoption of climate-friendly policies. A growing body of research demonstrates the link between women’s leadership and participation in climate action and improved resource governance, discussion outcomes, and preparedness for disasters. This is true also for the business sector, where adopting more environmentally friendly policies was a result of gender diversity in company boardrooms. For instance, a 1 percent rise in the proportion of female corporate managers results in a 0.5 percent drop in CO2 emissions, per a series of working papers published by the European Central Bank.
  • Comprise nearly half of the world’s population: Given that women make up nearly half of the world’s population, the question of whether catastrophe prevention, climate change mitigation, and adaption measures can truly be designed holistically must thus be posed.
  • Women should therefore be acknowledged as co-owners and agenda-setters of the climate process, utilising their skills, knowledge, and experience to improve climate governance outcomes at the local, national, and multilateral levels as well as in climate forums and the private sector.

What can be done?

  • Quotas can be offered not only to increase participation but also to address inequalities. To start, measures, including quotas, can be implemented to not only increase women’s leadership and meaningful participation at all levels of climate action decision-making, but also to address persistent inequalities, such as those relating to their access to and control over resources like land, technology, and finance.
  • Integrating a gender perspective across spectrums: In order to ensure that the needs and concerns of women are being adequately addressed, policymakers must make a conscious effort to integrate a gender perspective across spectrums, including design, monitoring, and evaluation, implementation, and funding of all national climate policies, plans, and actions.
  • Expanding gender-responsive finance and services: The member states must increase gender-responsive finance as well as gender-responsive public services, healthcare systems, and universal social protections. They must also combine measures to end gender-based violence in climatic policies and to advance a care economy, ensuring the provision of and access to justice for women.
  • Implementing measures to increase gender equality and enable women to use their skills: Heads of state must decide on and carry out measures to increase gender equality and enable women and young girls. Simply said, global investments, particularly for women and girls from marginalised groups, must be directed at directly enhancing and cultivating their skills, resilience, and knowledge, therefore dismantling significant obstacles that prevent their involvement in decision-making positions.

Way forward

There is no question that gender inequality will undoubtedly worsen as a result of climate change.

The voices of women continue to have a differential impact, and mitigation measures and negations should be geared specifically to the gender difficulties that women face during a crisis related to climate change. As a result, world leaders need to pay heed to their voices.


Due to the complexity of the global phenomena known as climate change, all people must participate in comprehensive global action. Instead of banning women from one of the major summits, the UN Climate Change Conference could provide an opportunity to acknowledge and support the creative climate measures that women are bringing. It should also give a platform for understanding how current systems hinder women’s participation, allowing for the development of policy responses that account for both the short-term and long-term gendered effects of environmental catastrophes.

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