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Women, human rights and the global climate regime

Rowena Maguire and Bridget Lewis

Keywords: climate change; gender; human rights; women's rights; Paris Agreement

It is now well understood that climate change represents a threat to the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights. Given that women are vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to a range of social, economic, cultural and political factors that influence their position in society, their human rights may be especially at risk. Despite the growing recognition of climate change as a human rights issue, the recently adopted Paris Agreement contains scant references to human rights, little engagement with the rights of women in particular, and no coverage of women's substantive rights in the operative sections of the Agreement. This article argues that more work is required to ensure that women's rights are adequately protected against the harms caused by anthropogenic climate change. Despite recent increases in women's participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stronger and more targeted action is still required to give effect to the general recognition of women's rights. The article posits that a gender perspective on climate change can work to reinforce human-rights-based approaches by ensuring that women are afforded greater opportunities to participate in climate change negotiations. The article also argues for the implementation of policies that acknowledge and draw on women's experiences and are designed to advance their enjoyment of human rights.

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