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Aug 05, 16 WordPress

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Jun 30, 16 WordPress

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Unleashing the power of women in the renewable energy sector

Oct 20, 15 Unleashing the power of women in the renewable energy sector

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In the United States, October has been designated as “National Energy Awareness Month”— emphasizing how central energy is to national prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. At GGO, we also recognize the importance of energy, particularly renewable energy, and the necessity of access to modern, clean and renewable fuel sources for billions of people globally, not the least of which are women. Evidence from many sectors suggests that integrating women into all levels of the energy value chain will lead to more effective clean energy initiatives, unleash greater return on investments, and expand emission reduction opportunities. However, while more attention is being paid to the imperative role of women in the energy sector, there is still a significant lack of recognition of women as more than passive users of energy. For instance, the current composition of the energy sector, particularly at high-level decision-making positions, remains a homogenous group. The latest study conducted by the Environment and Gender Index (EGI) estimated that women occupy only 4% of the World Energy Council (WEC) positions and 18% of the WEC Secretary Positions. Adnan Z. Amin, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General says, “Here in the United States, a country fast becoming a leader in renewable energy innovation, we are seeing a rapid rise in deployment of solar PV in particular, along with strong investment in wind in several states and a leading focus on development of advanced biofuels. Overall, wind jobs in the US have increased by almost half – 43% – since last count to 73,000, whilst total solar employment surged 22% to 173,800 in 2014. We have also found that the employment of women in the US solar industry is on the rise, increasing from 26,700 to 37,500 last year.” Energy initiatives can shift gender paradigms by promoting the empowerment of women, as these initiatives can have the ability to increase income-generating opportunities for women, reduce hunger and poverty levels, and enhance women’s social and political status. The 2012 World Development Report noted, “Greater gender...

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There is no Justice in Climate Change

Sep 28, 15 There is no Justice in Climate Change

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Today is the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action–a day for women and our allies to mobilize around the world, to show resistance to false solutions to the climate crisis, and to demonstrate the many viable options that are just and equitable and that honor frontline communities. This is a crucial opportunity to spotlight that striving for gender equality is not only the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do in relation to climate change. However, there is no justice when it comes to climate change.The damaging effects of a changing climate do not discriminate. When floods wash away homes, when droughts ravage crops, when disease spreads like wildfire through rural villages and communities, nature doesn’t pick and chose its victims. We do. Men and women are not equally impacted by climate change. This is not because women are weak or often less physically strong than men–their vulnerability is the product of interrelated socio-cultural processes that creates inequalities. For example, around the world women suffer from pervasive structures that limit their ability to own land, borrow and invest money, or start a business. According to a recent study performed by the World Bank, 155 out of 173 economies have at least one legal difference between men and women that may significantly reduce the economic opportunities of women. As the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation actions grows, the distribution of related financing will increase–as will the potential gap in access to and control over resources between men and women under the prevailing systems and mechanisms. Due to existing economic structures, financial resources to aid in the mitigation and adaptation of climate change are not as likely to be available to women as to men, and unequal disbursement of funding will intensify inequity. Because of their responsibility to get water, food, and energy for cooking and heating, women in developing countries depend on natural resources for both livelihoods and security. The impacts of climate change, including drought, variable...

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Stop being so sensitive! The shift from gender-sensitive to gender-responsive action

Aug 10, 15 Stop being so sensitive! The shift from gender-sensitive to gender-responsive action

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From Costa Rica to Cameroon, women are the primary users of many natural resources—playing essential roles in forestry management, sustainable conservation, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Globally, women’s heavy dependence on natural resources and its associated products also means that they often have more at stake than men when these resources are degraded or access to them is denied.   Research[1] shows that when it comes to solving complex problems or innovating, such as solutions for adapting to and mitigating climate change, a diverse group of competent performers almost always outperforms a homogenous group by quite a large margin. The more diverse stakeholders are, the more likely they will still succeed in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity because each person puts things into categories based on his or her background and experience. For example, in the context of climate change forest related initiatives, it can mean the difference between a woman as vulnerable and immobilized or an empowered agent of change.   Therefore, we need to move towards being not only gender-sensitive, but gender-responsive.   Being gender-responsive means that rather than only identify gender issues or work under the “the do not do harm” principle, a process will substantially help to overcome historical gender biases—to “do better,” so to speak—in order for women to truly engage and benefit from these actions. In addition, gender-responsive planned actions should integrate measures for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, foster women’s inclusion and provide equal opportunities for women and men to derive social and economic benefits. With this approach, women and men’s concerns and experiences equally become a fundamental element in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of natural resource-related projects and policies.   Being gender-responsive means going beyond acknowledging gender gaps and really doing something about the discrepancies. A wonderful example of this is in Cameroon, where the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (“REFACOF”) is aiming to shift gender norms by creating a network of women involved in sustainable forest resource...

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Countdown for climate action – are 10 days enough?

Jul 07, 15 Countdown for climate action – are 10 days enough?

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The countdown has begun. There are less than five months left before world leaders meet in Paris to make commitments to address climate change and attempt to halt the devastating effects it will continue to have on all humankind.berryjam.ru In advance of this December ‘COP21’ meeting, it is imperative that the elements of an effective, efficient, and equitable gender-responsive climate change framework are in place. From every corner of the planet, clarion calls sound for action and decision making on climate change. Most recently, Pope Francis released the first papal encyclical focused on the environment, Laudato Si. In his letter, he urges the world to engage in a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” His voice joins the many women and men of communities, scientists, activists, theologians and civil society groups that have already emphatically spoken out on this issue. In June, IUCN’s Global Gender Office (GGO) representatives attended the intersessional UN climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany where parties to the climate convention tried to make progress towards a new global agreement. We have been providing input on areas for possible collaboration toward the effective implementation of the climate convention’s gender mandates, to guide the implementation of a two-year programme to promote gender equality and achieve gender-responsive climate policy. We’re also trying to move words into action – international policy frameworks towards on-the-ground strategies which ensure women and men are equally considered, included and empowered within climate change policy, planning and implementation. Feelings in the corridors in Bonn ranged from impatience to desperation. Indeed, there are five months remaining until COP21, but there are less than 10 days of negotiations left – only two more meetings. This is not much time at all to finalise the conditions of the framework and have all Parties agree to implementation. As GGO participated in these crucial discussions about...

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