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This research considers the nexus between gender equality, climate change and sustainable development. It focuses on the gender dimensions of climate change, highlighting how women and men, boys and girls experience the impacts of climate change in different ways, and what can be done to minimise the risk to those most vulnerable – that is, women and girls. It also looks at existing mitigation and adaptation approaches and policy frameworks that support gender and climate change issues.

Key insights

  • The impact of climate change is contributing to widening gender inequalities.
  • Women face the brunt of climate change impact; with limited access to resources and opportunities, women and girls are more vulnerable to disaster-induced risks.
  • Women are not sufficiently recognised for their role in climate mitigation and adaptation; this lack of recognition could undermine global efforts to address climate change.
  • Flooding, droughts, extreme weather conditions and increased exposure to diseases impact girls’ ability to attend school and to access education; women and girls are also burdened with additional responsibilities, due to gender norms, in the wake of disasters. 
  • The impact of extreme weather events on health services and infrastructure can limit access to sexual and reproductive health services.
  • There are direct links between climate-change-related events and gender-based violence. 

Contributing to climate action

The research promotes the role of women in global climate action, and highlights that by acknowledging and understanding efforts to advance gender equality and to integrate gender considerations throughout all climate actions, we can improve the effectiveness of such actions. It also informs thinking and discussions on how to make education more inclusive, how to transition to a green economy, and how to strengthen women’s leadership in the climate conversation. 

Reinforcing COP26 priorities

Gender and climate change is a key area of concern globally, and a priority for COP26 discussions, particularly around progress on the Gender Action Plan, agreed during the last COP meeting, gender considerations within the Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, and the Climate Change Fund. As such, this research is informing dialogue and discussion in these areas, and supports thinking on priorities going forward. 

Who’s involved?

This research was conducted by the British Council.

Why the British Council?

The British Council is committed to ensuring that gender equality concerns are at the centre of climate action and policy efforts in the countries and regions we work in. Gender and social inclusion concerns are at the heart of our cultural relations approach, as we work to promote girls’ education and empowerment, women’s leadership in science and research, inclusive teaching practices and STEM careers for women, whilst supporting young women to lead collective action. 

Final report forthcoming. Contact for more information.


See also