Climate Change and Gendered Vulnerabilities

Context– Due to the pandemic, India has an opportunity to build climate resilience and address gender equality issues.

How India can tackle widening inequalities?

The recovery is offering India two golden opportunities:

  • To build climate resilience for the most vulnerable by ensuring that stimulus measures are green.
  • To meaningfully address long-standing gender equality issues.

What are effects of pandemic on vulnerable groups?

  • Most affected groups- Overburdened healthcare systems and frontline health workers lives and livelihoods impacted. The poor, Adivasis, migrants, informal workers, sexual minorities, people with disabilities and women all face a greater brunt than most.
  • Vulnerable groups, especially women bear a heavier burden of climate change, due to social inequalities that limit them.
  • Climate change, in turn, widens socio-economic gaps, trapping communities in a vicious cycle.

What are the measures needed to tackle climate change?

Women and marginalized groups, by virtue of their position and roles, are a fountain of solutions to tackle climate change.

  1. Green investment– The Indian government has invested huge amount in COVID-19 recovery. These recovery packages in green jobs will improve lives and environment.
  • These green investments ought to be reflected across agriculture, urban planning, energy and the health sectors and in climate-resilient civil works, including under MGNREGA.
  1. Equipping women with skills– It is critical to leverage women knowledge, capacities and skills towards adapting to and mitigating climate change.
  • The initiative like Disha, a UNDP supported by the IKEA Foundation energize local economies, reduce carbon emissions, enhance climate resilience and disrupt social norms and behaviors that restrict women’s participation in the workforce.
  • For Example– By training young rural women for the maintenance of solar pumps will introduce clean energy and reduce production cost.
  • Accelerating the transition to renewable energy will lower carbon footprints and provide sustainable livelihoods to poor women.

Way forward-

  • Recognizing the important contributions of women as decision makers, stakeholders, educators, careers and experts across sectors and at all levels can lead to successful, long-term solutions to climate change.
  • Women have proven to be leading the way towards more equitable and sustainable solutions to climate change.  Across sectors, women’s innovations and expertise have transformed lives and livelihoods, and increased climate resilience and overall well-being.
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