ARC CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES
IMAGE: Gender equality in terms of climate policy and practice is critical. Show more CREDIT: JACQUI LAU.
Scientists say outdated assumptions about gender continue to hamper effective and fair policymaking and action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The lead author of a new study, Dr. Jacqueline Lau of the ARC Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU) and WorldFish said that gender – along with other identities such as race, class, and age – has a strong influence on experience and resilience of the People against climate change.
She said the four most common and interrelated assumptions are: women are naturally caring and connected with the environment; Women are a homogeneous and vulnerable group; Gender equality is a women’s problem and; Gender equality is a numbers game.
“While there is a global mandate to work towards gender equality in climate change mitigation and adaptation, efforts are hampered by a number of assumptions about gender that have long been criticized in development studies,” said Dr. Lukewarm.
The study draws on the literature on gender and climate change after 2014 to provide an overview of how gender assumptions are manifested in recent work on adaptation, containment and broader policy, practice and research related to climate change.
The literature review examines in more detail how these assumptions narrowly diagnose the causes of gender inequality.
“As a result, we see too many strategies that have unintended – and even counterproductive – consequences,” said Dr. Pip Cohen from WorldFish.
“For example, strategies that target women only can overwhelm them, create a backlash, or mask the weaknesses of other groups.”
The study offers lessons for a more informed pursuit of gender equality in climate change research, policy, and practice.
The authors said that promoting gender equality means breaking down stereotypes and prejudice about gendered environments so that all people can exercise their freedom of choice to deal with change, change, and adapt.
Dr. Lau said she was surprised to find so many examples of gender assumption in practice on climate change. She explained that a first step in disrupting these assumptions is to disclose them and explain why development research has found them problematic.
“The social and cultural expectations of what it means to be a woman or a man in a given society will affect people’s well-being,” said Dr. Lukewarm.
She said that in addition to efforts to break down broader barriers to gender equality, better and more coordinated efforts are needed from practitioners and researchers to disrupt and counteract unhelpful assumptions.
“The pursuit of gender equality in climate change policy and practice is vital, and decades of development experience provides lessons on how to do it well,” said Dr. Lukewarm.
“Ultimately, we want to offer everyone fair opportunities to reach their full potential. Where no one is left behind. “
Lau J., Kleiber D., Lawless S., Cohen P. (2021). “Gender equality in climate policy and practice hindered by assumptions”. Nature climate change. DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-021-00999-7