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Gender issue in climate change discourse: theory versus reality

Even though gender has become one of the themes of analysis in development policy discourse, it has received little emphasis in climate change policies. By reviewing literature related to climate change and gender, this paper finds that women are more vulnerable to climate disasters than men through their socially constructed roles and responsibilities, and their relatively poorer and more economically vulnerable position, especially in the developing world. In Bangladesh, gender inequalities with respect to enjoyment of human rights, political and economic status, land ownership, housing conditions, exposure to violence, education and health (in particular reproductive and sexual health) make women more vulnerable before, during and after climate change-induced disasters.

The paper argues that enhancement of institutional capacity to mainstream gender in global and national climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policies and operations through the development of gender policies, gender awareness, internal and external gender capacity and expertise, and the development and application of relevant mechanisms and tools should be prioritized for a pro-poor development in the realm of climate contingencies.