Women, Gender, and Climate Actions

The International Women’s Day – March 8, 2022

The International Women’s Day, March 8, is an opportunity to reflect on the advances and gaps in gender equity and commemorate how women and girls are leading the solutions to address global problems, including climate change within RET’s programs. The UN 2022 theme focuses on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”  According to the UN, “the year 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of climate change and environmental and disaster risk reduction, which are some of the greatest global challenges of the twenty-first century. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future and an equal future remains beyond our reach.”

Gender Equality 
Equality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, adopted by world leaders in 1945. Yet, “millions of women, young women, minority groups, and people of diverse gender identities worldwide continue to experience discrimination in the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights. Moreover, many women face compounded forms of discrimination—due to factors such as their age, race, ethnicity, disability, or socioeconomic status, in addition to gender-based discrimination.”

Though girls and boys face similar challenges in early childhood, gender disparities become more pronounced in adolescence (10-19 years of age), a crucial period when boys’ and girls’ attitudes about gender develop and gender norms consolidate. Due to expected gender roles, adolescent girls may also face a disproportionate burden of domestic work, risks of early marriage and early pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence. Women today face social, economic, and political barriers coupled with unequal access to resources and decision-making processes.

According to RET, gender equality means women and men of all ages and regardless of sexual orientation have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and contributing to and benefiting from economic, social, cultural, and political development and decision-making.  RET considers the impact of gender and social norms throughout all its projects. RET’s interventions work across the triple nexus, supporting equality and inclusion of women and young girls (focusing on refugees, migrants, and returnees) in society and the economy to help them lead their self-reliance journey and build their resilience. RET is also fully committed to supporting the Sustainable Development Goal SDG5: “To Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls,” to ensure women and girls have equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes, particularly during times of crisis and fragile contexts.

Gender and Climate Actions
Climate change is felt through primarily natural hazards and affects many sectors, including agriculture, food security, health, and even migration patterns. Both women and men relying on natural resources for their livelihoods, such as agriculture, are likely affected by climate change. However, the impact is not the same on both, and women’s vulnerability stems from several factors – social, economic, and cultural. Advancing gender equality in the context of climate crises and disaster risk reduction (Preparedness and Mitigation) is one of the most significant global challenges of the 21st century that RET is currently undertaking. 

RET has actively worked to address women and young people’s specific and immediate needs while addressing the broader issues preventing gender equality within each given context. Given that RET works primarily in emergency and fragile contexts, it has gathered first-hand evidence that conflict and climate change affect males and females differently, and those gender disparities are often exacerbated. Both protection and livelihoods risk for girls and young women increase in such contexts; climate change affects the livelihoods of specifical women dependent on natural resources in rural areas. In response, RET actualizes equality through gender-sensitive strategies to respond to the environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change and conflicts. 

Within its current projects in Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, here are some facts about our interventions and commitment to climate adaptation in 2022:

  • RET is promoting short and medium-term agriculture measures to revive rural areas that directly target the needs of the poorest refugees/local farmers, especially female-headed households.
  • RET is increasing adaptive capacity and resilience to reduce people’s vulnerability, especially women, to the impacts of climate change and climate-related risks.
  • RET is building farmers’ adaptive capacity, especially women (refugees and host), to boost the local economy and create employment and income-generating opportunities. 
  • RET is reducing the impact of climate change on agriculture production, affecting the livelihoods of populations depending on agriculture, especially women.
  • RET is reducing Inadequate water and plant pest/disease management representing a significant constraint to stabilize and increase agricultural production linked to intensified seasonal and inter-annual climate variability and change.
  • RET is strengthening the adaptation-related research, including meteorological and hydrological monitoring and forecasting, including early warning systems, etc.
  • RET is taking part in promoting water-saving irrigation methods to withstand climate change;
  • RET is advancing the promotion of modified fishing practices to adapt to stock changes and fished species and introducing more flexibility in the equipment and techniques used, including enabling and training vulnerable women on fish preparation …

Disaster Risk Reduction – The Americas
RET is mainstreaming resilience approaches that address disaster and climate risks within the context of multiple projects, aiming to integrate climate and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as integral elements in all RET projects as we move forward. 

Through a range of approaches, RET reduces the number of lives and livelihoods lost or adversely affected during a disaster and helps capacitate and empower young people, especially women, to become more resilient to future crises. RET’s programs aim to help vulnerable populations anticipate and prepare for disasters in the education system and at the community and national levels through participatory and community-based approaches. RET intervenes in disaster and emergency-affected environments to mitigate the impact of disasters and ensure the most vulnerable, especially young women and People with Disabilities (PwD), have access to protection services and adapt to educational opportunities and learning environments. Moreover, RET has DRR programs to reinforce the preparedness and mitigation capacities of national and local stakeholders, families, and communities in the event of a disaster, with a strong focus on the active participation of vulnerable groups, especially women, throughout the whole process.

Recently, RET has been integrating an intersectional approach to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations to understand how the different layers of vulnerability interact between at-risk populations, including gender vulnerabilities. RET has been incorporating Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategy to build climate resilience and self-sufficiency; strengthen community food production; promote plant-based diets and Eco-efficiency initiatives; to help reduce risks while simultaneously support livelihoods.  Nature-based Solutions (NbS) focus on managing or restoring an ecosystem that addresses societal challenges, such as disaster risk, climate change, food security, water security, and human health. It addresses all three components of the risk equation – preventing or mitigating hazards, limiting people’s exposure to hazards, and limiting their vulnerability.

RET’s response is strengthened through active partnership in many inter-sectoral networks and clusters promoting inclusive disaster and climate resilience, including the UN Educational Cluster, the LAC Network for Disability Inclusion in DRR (GIRDD LACRed de Gestion Inclusiva del Riesgo de Desastres y Discapacidad), GNDR (Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction), GADRRRES (Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector) and the regional PEDRR platform for Latin America and the Caribbean (Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction.)



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