Ensuring that climate solutions empower women: Latin America perspective

Ensuring that climate solutions empower women: Latin America perspective

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Date: 28th December 2021
Type: Feature

Measures to transition to a low-carbon, green economy are not automatically fair and inclusive if they do not actively include a gender equality approach.

This message was highlighted in an event entitled Climate Governance with a Gender Focus: Building Capacity and Institutional Arrangements, held on 7 September in Santiago, Chile as part of the Regional Meeting on Climate Change and Gender Equality.

The session was facilitated by Teresa Aguilar of the European Union’s EUROCLIMA+ Programme. The session included Lorena Aguilar, Environment and Gender Specialist from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), who spoke on gender equality in Latin American and Caribbean responses to climate change.

Johanna Arriagada from the Climate Change Office, Ministry of Environment of Chile and Jessica Huertas from the General Directorate of Climate Change and Desertification of Peru presented experiences on mainstreaming gender in climate change policies in their countries.

According to Ms Aguilar: “actions taken to fight climate change can reinforce or exacerbate existing inequalities, or they can be specifically targeted at eliminating inequalities and speeding up the process of gaining equality and autonomy for women.”

She stressed the need to simultaneously examine the physical, economic and socio-cultural structures as well as identifying and addressing long-standing gender inequalities, when preparing climate change responses.

As an example, based on data from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 80% of new employment opportunities anticipated from decarbonisation plans fall into sectors that are typically dominated by male workers, while only 20% fall into female-dominated sectors.

This means women will not benefit from this job creation unless their participation has been intentionally considered for the most relevant sectors in decarbonisation efforts, such as energy, agriculture, construction and waste management. Women now account for 32% of workers in renewable energies, which is 10 percent higher than in other traditional energy industries.

The speakers concluded that it is fundamentally important to identify and address the knowledge gaps at the gender and climate change nexus. There is a need to strengthen the evidence base and understanding of the differentiated impacts of climate change.

Countries need to generate gender-disaggregated statistics to inform decision-making and to undertake research on the connections among gender and environmental factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation and biodiversity loss.

Following the event, a working group session was held with government representatives and civil society from Latin American and Caribbean countries in which participants analysed the main gender equality aspects that should be incorporated in climate governance.

Teresa Aguilar from the EUROCLIMA + Programme highlighted:

  • the importance of intersectionality and of integrating an intergenerational and intercultural perspective;
  • the relevance of institutionalising processes that have various phases or stages; and
  • the need for gender equality to be formally included in climate change legislation.

The full recorded session can be viewed here in Spanish and here in English.  

About the session

The Government of Chile, in its capacity holding the Presidency of COP25, hosted the Regional Meeting on Climate Change and Gender Equality in September 2021, through the offices of its ministries of the Environment, Foreign Relations and Women and Gender Equality. The event was supported by the European Union, through its EUROCLIMA + and EUROsocial + Programmes and by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) - key strategic partners in climate action and in building links between the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting was also supported by the United Nations System of Chile and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The meeting was held virtually and took place over various sessions throughout the month. The quotes show experiences, good practices, challenges and opportunities to integrate gender equality in climate action in LAC and in the implementation roadmap of the Paris Agreement. Decision-makers at the national, regional and global levels, academia and civil society participated in the event.

The live broadcasts of the sessions are free to view via:





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