Climate change is increasingly recognized as a major human security issue that poses serious global threats. For the world’s poor the impact will be most severe, disproportionately affecting their livelihoods and security. Women comprise 70% of those living below the poverty line. As a result, they are most likely to bear the heaviest burdens when natural disasters strike. At the same time, women are more often overlooked as potential contributors to climate change solutions, and thus to the security of all human beings.
The Hyogo Framework for Action that emerged from the United Nation’s 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction states that “a gender perspective should be integrated into all disaster risk management policies, plans and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early warning, information management, and education and training” (ISDR, 2005: 4). It is, therefore, imperative that governments and other stakeholders build into their policies and programs strong links between gender, human security and climate change.
This study presents a gendered analysis of how climate change impacts on human security. It also assesses whether adequate scope exists for women to participate in improved human security in a scenario of changing climate. Based on this analysis, recommendations are given for enhancing the integration of a gender perspective in climate change and human security policies and programs.
While the study focuses on gender equality, it emphasizes the effects of climate change on women, the most disadvantaged and neglected social group in society. Women’s contributions to climate change adaptation are also examined, as are related policies including National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). Global policy frameworks and goals are reviewed, including the Hyogo Framework, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).