By Tsim Mavisi

The climate crisis has posed a great threat to women and girls worldwide making them more vulnerable than before. Thus, experts have called for gender inclusion in approaches and solutions to increase climate resilience.

They were speaking during a Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Gender platform side event at the 27th Conference of parties on climate change in Egypt to explore gender-responsive approaches and solutions to growing climate resilience.

Anke Oppermann, Head of the Directorate “Decent work worldwide ;food and Nutrition Security” at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Anke Oppermann, Head of the Directorate “Decent work worldwide; food and nutrition security” at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in her opening statement, noted that women and girls experience disproportionate impacts from climate change at the global level yet they don’t have access to coping strategies due to structural inequalities and restrictive social norms.

Opperman observed that women in many countries have limited knowledge of climate adaptation strategies. She further observed that women only account for under 14% of landowners worldwide which limits their ability to act even with the information.

“These examples show that the increasing threat to poverty and hunger due to unequal access to resources and deeply entrenched social and gender norms needs to be addressed through a gender transformative feminist approach,” she urged.

Feminist development policies are aimed at bringing women and girls to the center of every food and development program as well as overcoming all forms of discrimination.

Claudia Ringler, Deputy Division Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) noted that men are leaving agriculture faster than women in response to climate extreme events due to the inability of women to find non-agricultural jobs.

“The share of women in agriculture is growing. As such it should be the interest of the private sector and the government to directly reach out to women farmers with agricultural information and climate resilience strategies,” Ringler said.

According to research done by IFPRI in Uganda, there is a significant gender gap in awareness of climate resilience strategies in favor of men. Additionally, more women than men identified lack of funds and information as the main constraint that hinders them from adopting climate resilience strategies.

According to Dr. Rachel Ker, Professor of Global Development at Cornell University, agroecology is one of the climate-resilient strategies women can adopt to ensure food security.

Agroecology is a people-centered system of sustainable agriculture and a social justice movement driven by local farmers and other food producers to maintain power over their local food systems, protect their livelihoods and communities, and defend every African’s right to nutritious and diverse food, she said, adding that it focuses on uniting generations of indigenous knowledge, farmer-driven and science-based innovation, and an ecosystem’s natural processes.

Dr. Ker citing the 6thassessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), noted that the gender transformative approach is an important strategy for changing structural inequalities. Additionally, it emphasizes the need for more deliberative programming and policy-making spaces that support inclusive decision-making.