Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change in the Pacific due to prevailing gender inequalities. Meanwhile, the participation and leadership of women in climate change adaptation has been identified globally as critical for fostering resilience in families, communities and nations.
Aided by case studies from across the Pacific, this chapter examines the differentiated impacts of climate change on gender and the actual and potential role of women in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It evaluates regional capacity for gender responsive climate change action in the areas of policy, institutional arrangements, implementation and practice, knowledge and participation, to inform future decisions by development agencies, governments and donors.
Research findings show that while the importance of gender equality in relation to climate change is recognised in theory, the value of active participation of women and women’s groups’ is largely overlooked in practice in the Pacific, at local and national levels. Recommendations are made for more meaningful incorporation of gender equality into climate change policy, planning and processes. The paper identifies a number of examples where a gender responsive approach aids effective climate change adaptation, and identifies measures through which gender equality and women’s empowerment can be strengthened to substantially build resilience to climate change.