The high level of vulnerability of women and girls to climate change is closely related to the roles and norms attached to their gender. That is why it is essential to mainstream gender perspectives into climate action policies and programs, in order to evaluate the extent to which these instruments contribute to reducing gender inequality.
The interaction of men and women with the environment occurs differently according to their gender roles, needs, responsibilities, and established power relations. This means that environment and climate change effects impact them in different ways and to different extents. Women represent 43% of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, but only 5% have access to agricultural extension services. Likewise, they occupy just 14% of the managerial positions in the sector, with only 10% to 20% of landholders being women. Furthermore, women in forestry, fishing and agriculture receive only 7% of agricultural investment.
The conditions of inequality and discrimination against women and girls – as well as other vulnerable groups (older adults, people with physical disabilities, indigenous people, people living in poverty or marginalization, people in homelessness, etc.) – tend to exacerbate as a result of climate change, as their vulnerability to the adverse effects of this phenomenon is even greater.
Despite the international consensus that promoting gender equality helps reduce poverty, supports inclusive growth, and increases the effectiveness and sustainability of development initiatives, there is still a need for data according to sex, which consider gender an essential element to assess the relative situation of men and women at local, national and global levels in terms of the environment and climate change.
In this context, the Government of Mexico City (CDMX) through the Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of the Environment of Mexico City (SEDEMA) requested the support of the Mexican-German Climate Change Alliance implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, to generate indicators with a gender perspective for the 2014-2020 Mexico City Climate Action Program.
This initiative was carried out through awareness-raising workshops and working groups at the inter-institutional level between the different agencies that report to the PACCM (Mexico City Climate Action Program), the Mexico City Institute for Women (Inmujeres CDMX), as well as liaisons and dependencies responsible for the implementation of lines of action for the Mexico City Special Program for Equal Opportunities and Non-Discrimination Against Women 2015-2018 (PEIOND).
Gender indicators have the special function of signaling social changes regarding gender relations over time. In the case of the PACCM, this translates into an effort to know to what extent the guidelines of this instrument help reduce the inequality gap between women and men, and address the needs and concerns of each group when faced with the effects of climate change.
Some challenges were identified due to the work being carried out to incorporate the gender perspective in the lines of action and PACCM indicators, such as changes in perception and recognition of the link between climate change and gender – or the lack of data and base lines to monitor and evaluate progress in this area. However, it is also possible to take the Mexico City government experience to promote a harmonization of public policies and coordination between institutions at a local level (Review: “Products, Results, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations”). Likewise, this tool presents an easily replicable method for state and municipal governments to integrate gender perspectives into their sectoral attributions, thereby identifying and formulating mitigation and adaptation actions to climate change.