Climate change and gender equity

«Gender inequality renders women more vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. They do play, however, an active role in mitigation actions,» said agronomist Dagmara Planas at a workshop on risk perception and journalism. Held on May 20-23 in Havana, the event was organized by the José Martí International Institute of Journalism (IIPJM) and IPS (news agency), with the support of the Norwegian Embassy in Cuba.

The workshop was attended by reporters and media executives in the western provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque, and Havana. They were urged to apply an inclusive approach and highlight the participation of both men and women in climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. «The sexual division of labor widens the gender gap,» Planas stressed.

«The empowerment of women should be given priority in adaptation strategies,» she added. Studies have shown that countries with large women’s representation in parliament usually have more protected areas and better chances to sign and ratify international environmental treaties. Although women make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, only five percent of them have access to extension services, two percent to land tenure, and one percent to credits.

An FAO report indicated that equal access by men and women to productive resources can make yields grow by 20 to 30 percent and reduce the number of people going hungry in the world by 12 percent. Cuba ranks 59th on the Human Development Index international country list, but has failed to apply the gender approach to its climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy.

Planas urged to involve women in developing medium- and long-term initiatives along these lines.

Translated by Adolfo Fuentes

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