Gender Equality & Climate Change

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MethodSpace is following and sharing news from the UN Bonn Climate Conference, now underway. We are particularly focused on the opportunities and implications for researchers and educators– and our students. To that end, we are interested in the upcoming launch of the Universities Network for Climate Change. This series of posts includes background information as well as live feeds from the conference.

Gender Equality is a Climate Issue

Women’s Studies was a minor in my undergraduate studies at Cornell University, but I don’t recall climate, environmental, or sustainability issues as topics we looked at from a gender perspective. That was then, this is now! Gender equality is Goal 5, an essential component of the UN Paris Agreement.

Goal 5 states that:

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

In addition to Goal 5 targets to “end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere” and “ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life,” issues related to health, economics, culture and education for women and girls are woven throughout the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. A few highlighted targets include:

4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university.

10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

13.B Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels. 

Follow events focusing on gender taking place at the Bonn Climate Conference.

As an armchair participant in the Bonn Climate Conference, you can learn about progress towards meeting Goal 5 and related SDGs with a Gender Action Plan. Discussions are webcast, and available on-demand. Find out more here.

You can also study the ongoing work by the UN Women on the website. On Twitter, follow @UN_Women and  .


Read scholarly articles about gender and climate, sustainability, and related topics.

Here are a few open-access articles that demonstrate the disciplinary breadth of current research:

“Adapting Women” to Climate Change with Cooking Stoves and Water Reservoirs”
by Noémi Gonda

“Analysis of women, SDGs and water” by Jack Onyisi Abebe (Also see an interview with the author here.)

“Can social protection address both poverty and inequality in principle and practice?”
by Sophie Plagerson and Marianne S Ulriksen

Connecting Women, Connecting Men: How Communities and Organizations Interact to Strengthen Adaptive Capacity and Food Security in the Face of Climate Change”
by Laura Cramer, Wiebke Förch, Ianetta Mutie, and Philip K. Thornton

“Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals”
by Eun Mee Kimon

Brand narratives, sustainability, and gender: A socio-semiotic approach by Nacima Ourahmoune, Anne-Sophie Binninger, and Isabelle Robert

Promoting health and well-being in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda  by Caroline Costongs and Nicoline Tamsma

Student Diversity Augments Studying Sustainability in Higher Education
Nguyen Linh Dan and Takashi Mino

Use the comment area to add resources about gender and climate change.


Reference List

Abebe, J. O. (2018). Analysis of women, SDGs and water Social Science Research Network. doi:

Cramer, L., Förch, W., Mutie, I., & Thornton, P. K. (2016). Connecting women, connecting men: How communities and organizations interact to strengthen adaptive capacity and food security in the face of climate change. Gender, Technology and Development, 20(2), 169-199. doi:10.1177/0971852416639771

Dan, N. L., & Mino, T. (2016). Student diversity augments studying sustainability in higher education. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 10(1), 38-53. doi:10.1177/0973408215625533

Gonda, N. (2016). Climate Change, “Technology” and gender:“Adapting women” to climate change with cooking stoves and water reservoirs. Gender, Technology and Development, 20(2), 149-168. doi:10.1177/0971852416639786

Kim, E. M. (2017). Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals. Global Social Policy, 17(2), 239-244. doi:10.1177/1468018117703444

Ourahmoune, N., Binninger, A.-S., & Robert, I. (2014). Brand narratives, sustainability, and gender: A socio-semiotic approach. Journal of Macromarketing, 34(3), 313-331. doi:10.1177/0276146714528335

Plagerson, S., & Ulriksen, M. S. (2016). Can social protection address both poverty and inequality in principle and practice? Global Social Policy, 16(2), 182-200. doi:10.1177/1468018115622521

Tamsma, N., & Costongs, C. (2017). Promoting health and well-being in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 46(1), 44-48. doi:10.1177/1403494817741773

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