Concepts and Cases
Edited by Matthias Ruth and María E. Ibarrarán
Chapter 5: Gender and Climate Change Vulnerability: What’s the Problem, What’s the Solution?
Anthony G. Patt, Angie Dazé and Pablo Suarez INTRODUCTION While gender issues are increasingly recognized in the global arena, the policy environment of climate change adaptation initiatives has not kept pace with new findings. The policy environment still fails to recognize fully the gender-specific characteristics of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Women are usually subject to cultural norms and practices that differentiate them from men, such as poverty and marginality. Gender can play a major role in people’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, climaterelated threats. The Beijing Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), and the conclusions reached at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (1997/2) call on the United Nations and its member states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) systematically to integrate gender perspectives into all policy areas. These areas include disasters and environmental management. The Millennium Declaration, through its third commitment (or Millennium Development Goal), recognizes the importance of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment as an effective pathway for combating poverty, hunger and disease, and for stimulating truly sustainable development. Gender equality does not mean the pursuit of identical outcomes for males and females, but rather equality in rights, resources and voice. The World Development Report of 2006 defines gender equality as equal access to the ‘opportunities that allow people to pursue a life of their own choosing and to avoid extreme deprivations in outcomes’ (World Bank 2005). One of the priorities in the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–15...
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