Constituent policy

Mainstreaming the role of gender in climate policy

The climate crisis has placed climate diplomacy at the center of national and international discourses, and with this, the recognition that any framework aimed at mitigating the situation requires a gender component. The climate crisis is disproportionately affecting women, and in India we see this clearly in lower agricultural yields that are forcing migration from the countryside to the cities, especially of men, leaving women facing greater vulnerabilities such as tackling water scarcity and greater care delivery. responsibilities that affect their health.

At the political level, gender has been slowly mainstreamed into various climate frameworks, but this has not meant representation of women at the required levels, especially at the grassroots. In India, extreme weather events have steadily increased. Writing in a Compendium of Essays on Applying a Feminist Lens to India’s Foreign Policy published by Kubernein Initiative and The Asia Foundation, researcher and climate expert Dhanasree Jayaram claims that in almost 40% of Indian districts there have been changes in extreme weather events. This will only grow and exacerbate the negative gender dimension.

However, in most policies, women are seen as vulnerable or victims, not as stakeholders. This can only change if gender becomes a component of climate policy. A milestone in India’s climate diplomacy was the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which focuses on clean energy technologies. Without explicitly mentioning it, gender is a key element of the ISA, which supports a project called Solar Mamas in which women are trained to make and maintain solar panels.

This demonstrates a real intersection between the climate crisis and the role of gender in mitigating it. Another area that shows potential for gender mainstreaming is the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure set up last year in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Jayaram says, “India’s domestic climate policy and external climate diplomacy have huge gaps in terms of gender mainstreaming. While efforts are being made to recognize the effects of the climate crisis on women, policies and programs still have a long way to go when it comes to gender-responsive and gender-transformative policies. India needs a formal gender action plan on the climate crisis. Governments must also act on the under-representation of women through formalized gender mainstreaming processes.

India has positioned itself as a global climate leader. It has stepped up efforts such as net zero emissions by 2070 and focused on building climate partnerships with other countries. The way credentialed social health activists have played a role in tackling the climate and health crisis deserves to be reinforced. Despite its flaws, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which promotes LPG to rural women, is another example of a mitigation initiative. As Jayaram says, “India has already put in place several initiatives aimed at climate change mitigation and adaptation on the one hand, and gender equality and women’s empowerment on the other. These can bring about further changes in the way climate policies are designed and implemented at the national level. At the international level, India’s experiences could be useful in strengthening the gender action plan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Formal mainstreaming of gender into climate policy and diplomacy would lend greater legitimacy to India’s efforts in an area where it can demonstrate that it is both an innovator and a responsible global power in the region. South Asia.

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Opinions expressed are personal

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    Lalita Panicker heads the opinion section of the Hindustan Times. Over a 33-year career, she has specialized in gender issues, reproductive health, children’s rights, politics and social engineering.
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