Climate change and gender | ActionAid

Climate change and gender


In southern Bangladesh, one of the world’s most disaster-prone areas, climate change has increased the frequency of cyclones, tidal surges, coastal erosion and drought 

Photo: Turjoy Chowdhury/ActionAid

Women as agents of change in the fight against climate change

Women and girls are most adversely affected by the effects of climate change — but they are also uniquely important to the solution.  

Research shows that, when women participate in decision-making at national and community levels, they are key to effective climate change solutions. 

Women often have a strong body of knowledge and expertise that can be used in climate change mitigation, disaster reduction and in creating strategies for a more sustainable future.4  

Their traditional, cultural roles within families mean they often act as stewards of natural and household resources. Every day, billions of women around the world make decisions that influence the environment, whether it’s as cooks for their families (choosing food and fuel), as farmers (influencing soil carbon emissions), or as consumers (making purchasing decisions).5  

These cultural roles position women well to contribute to new strategies for climate-resilient, sustainable livelihoods.  

Meanwhile, at the country level, research shows women are powerful agents of change in the fight against climate change: gender-equal representation has led to policy-making with better outcomes for the environment.6 Despite this, many national adaptation plans have mostly excluded women.  

What ActionAid is doing to support women and girls’ climate resilience

ActionAid is working in the world’s poorest countries to support women to take on leadership roles, and ensure their voices are heard.  

As women and girls living in poverty are some of the most affected by the climate crisis, their voices must be central to the discourse surrounding it.

We know that, when women are empowered to participate in decision-making, entire communities benefit. That’s why we put women and girls at the heart of all we do.  

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Page updated 19 December 2019