Climate Justice Requires Women’s Leadership
The world is well aware that the climate crisis is one of the main stumbling blocks to sustainable development. And yet, despite the dramatic evidence of the lethal consequences of climate change, and despite possessing the knowledge, technologies, and resources to fix it, we continue on the same high-carbon path that threatens our survival.
We also know that climate stabilization depends on a whole-of-society response, and thus on all citizens’ equal and fair participation in governance. That has not happened, either: Women have been underrepresented in climate decision-making. And while this trend has slowly been reversed, much more needs to be done to advance a gender-sensitive response to climate change. Three imperatives stand out: women’s leadership, indigenous rights, and education.
Efforts to improve gender parity in climate governance have been ongoing for nearly a decade. In 2014, delegates to COP20 adopted the Lima Work Programme on Gender to encourage the inclusion of more women in climate-change negotiations. But five years later, at COP25 in Madrid, 60% of government delegates and 73% of heads and deputy heads of delegations were men.
This imbalance led to the adoption of the Enhanced Lima Work Programme and Action Plan on Gender. Under the enhanced plan, the parties to global climate talks pledged to appoint and provide support for national gender and climate-change focal points for climate negotiations, and for project implementation and monitoring. Even so, from 2019 to 2021, women occupied only 33% of all leadership positions in climate-change negotiations and expert mechanisms.