KASAMA Vol. 26 No. 1 / January-February-March 2012 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

GENDER AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Toolkit for Women on Climate Change

This toolkit on Gender and Climate Change is part of an important endeavour by Isis International to explore innovative and strategic ways to communicate gender justice and climate justice issues, especially from Southern feminist perspectives.

Gender and Climate Change

Climate change impacts people and countries in many different ways, yet the impacts of climate change are not gender neutral because of existing gender inequalities. Climate change is the living reality of women, with two facets -- on the one hand, women are indeed the most affected because of long-standing issues of gender; on the other hand, they are also active agents in addressing immediate and strategic solutions to climate justice. However, this consciousness has not yet permeated the current discussions and negotiations nor the production of knowledge on climate justice.

To date, gender issues have hardly figured in the inter­national policy discourse on climate change and have been often overlooked in discussions about strategies to reduce the source of greenhouse gases because of the “technical” or “scientific” nature of the strategies.

This toolkit aims to deepen our analysis from a broader and human-centered perspective on this imperative global issue of climate change and the mounting resistance to the corporate-driven false solutions that only deteriorate the catastrophe. In plain language, it provides community-based or grassroots organisations basic information on climate change and how to communicate climate justice with their constituencies and target groups.

The first part of this toolkit answers the questions: What is climate change and what are the effects of climate change? What is climate justice and what does climate justice have to do with gender? It shows how inter­national bodies concerned with climate change do not take women’s needs or gender issues sufficiently into account. It looks at the potential solutions proposed by international bodies and at what needs to be done to make these solutions more inclusive of women and women’s needs.

The second part of this toolkit looks at how groups and organisations can use communication and advo­cacy to work towards climate justice and gender justice. A Communication Agenda can be developed to map out the steps for using information and communica­tion in strategic ways to work towards climate justice. This includes: surfacing women’s experiences of climate change; how to analyse the data; and applying a feminist development communication framework to empower women and advocate for women’s human rights and gender justice.

The toolkit presents communication tools and strategies and both traditional and new information technologies (ICTs) with a special look at the usefulness of community radio. It looks at what elements make communications empowering.

Advocacy is a powerful means to amplify women’s voices and promote climate and gender justice. The toolkit looks at how to use different forms of advocacy including: lobbying, information and communication campaigns, community organising, new ICTs and social media tools. It shows how to build an advocacy plan.

All this is accompanied by real-life stories and experiences of women around the world with photographs and colourful illustrations.

We thank the many people who contributed to this Toolkit and especially the activists from Isis Activist School on Engendering Climate Justice for sharing their commitments, insights, wisdom and inspiration.

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