Recognizing the Importance of Addressing Climate Change to Advance Women’s Economic Security

Written by: Laura Cooper Hall, Gender and Climate Change Specialist

This piece was originally posted on ClimateLinks and written by Laura Cooper Hall, Gender and Climate Change Specialist on the USAID Technical, Operational, and Program Support (TOPS) Institutional Support Contract.

The launch of the new U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security is historic, not least because it recognizes that climate change and women’s economic security are deeply intertwined. This recognition contributes to a growing agreement that gender equality policies must include an understanding of how climate change impacts gender equality goals, mirroring a growing recognition of the importance of integrating gender equality priorities into climate change policy and planning.

During the launch event in January, Administrator Power highlighted the strategy’s aim to “end the economic oppression of women globally.”  She emphasized how achieving gender equality is only possible if we recognize the need to consider gender across other sectors, and explicitly mentioned using funding directed toward climate resilience goals as an opportunity to further women’s economic security. The Administrator pointed to USAID’s Engendering Industries program, which works to increase women’s economic security in traditionally male-dominated industries like renewable energy, as an example of how working in the gender-climate nexus can multiply development impacts, from climate change to gender equality to economic growth.

Climate is increasingly recognized as an integral component of USAID’s work. Not only is climate change being  integrated more frequently into gender policies and strategies, but the number of initiatives that integrate gender equality into climate activities is growing. At the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 27), USAID rolled out a series of announcements highlighting how the Agency is taking meaningful gender-responsive climate action. As part of USAID’s announcements, the Agency launched its new Climate Gender Equity Fund, an initiative designed to leverage private-sector funding to scale climate finance that advances gender-equitable climate action. USAID’s announcements at COP27 are enabled by the more than $21 million budget to the Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund for gender-responsive climate action. The GEEA Fund’s prioritization of climate demonstrates the ways in which the U.S. government is prioritizing the gender-climate nexus. At COP 27, USAID also announced a $23 million initial investment in a new nine-year program, USAID Egyptian Pioneers, that aims to build a more inclusive Egyptian workforce specifically in sectors that contribute to climate goals.

The growing recognition of the connection between gender and climate change on behalf of both the climate sector and the gender equality sector is monumental. The Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security contributes to this moment by recognizing and highlighting climate change as a key consideration for achieving the government’s objectives to advance women’s economic security. It enables further collaboration across sectors and encourages USAID and partners to continue designing gender-responsive climate programming, to achieve the shared goal of ending the economic oppression of women globally.

Photo by: Kenya Power and Lighting Company

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