05.03.2021

Promoting Climate Action through Gender Equality

Women in Delhi selling plants grown with their own composted soil. Photo: Dhuri Hoon Mai

The climate crisis is not gender neutral: different genders contribute differently to climate change - and are affected differently by its consequences. Climate policy, too, can exacerbate inequalities or contribute to gender equity, depending on how it is designed. 

The organization GenderCC has developed tools to assess climate policy programmes and measures for their gender responsiveness. The GenderCC-led project 'GUCCI - Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative', funded by IKI, enables international partner organizations to show women new ways to engage in climate action locally while improving their own livelihoods. India, one of the four project countries, has historically contributed less to global carbon emissions than countries in the Global North, but is already more affected than them by the consequences of the climate crisis, such as heat waves, floods and cyclones.

For example, Kolkata - reforestation of the mangrove forest offers protection against the consequences of climate change

In Kolkata, GenderCC’s partner organization All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) is committed to improving the situation of women in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. In times of climate change, the importance of mangrove forests can hardly be underestimated. As natural breakwaters, they protect the country's coasts, and the roots of the salt-tolerant trees can also prevent erosion. 

Cyclone Amphan devastated the Sundarbans on 20 May 2020, traveling at a speed of about 180 km/h at the time of landfall. The coastal area, including Sundarbans, was the most affected, and a large number of trees on the islands were destroyed. As a response, AIWC works with women in this area, who are often responsible for feeding families. In the pilot project, they are supported to contribute to re-forestation. A total of 108 women are involved in the process of planting mangroves in the area along with organic farming. 

These women are part of the whole process: they themselves prepared the saplings for plantation and also learnt to make their own vermicompost for organic farming. A gender training workshop for women was also organized in the area, and was attended by nearly 100 women. Notably, with organic farming, the food habits of women and families in the area have improved. By producing their own vegetables, they now have nutritious foods. With time and experience they can simultaneously increase production and start selling in the local market, thereby enhancing livelihoods. The project thus contributes to climate change mitigation and also builds resilience among these women.

For example Delhi - additional income through composting organic waste

In Delhi, AIWC works with women from the district of Budh Vihar (South west Delhi), which suffers greatly from poor waste management. The pilot project supports women in processing their organic waste at home, which is helpful in reducing waste and providing an additional income for the women. 

With the help of a set of three clay compost pots, they can make manure from organic waste at home. Using a rotating system, each pot is filled with kitchen waste as well as dry leaves and left to decay. The process of composting takes around 30 to 40 days depending on weather conditions. They can use the compost at home and can also sell it in the local market. 

This provides income for the women and their families as well as helping to create green spaces and reduce waste in the district. The project has boosted the confidence and morale of these women home makers who now feel capable of taking newer micro ventures.
 


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