Women and Climate Change: The Links Between Gender and Our Changing Climate

Klimatskipromeni.mk asked five women who work on climate issues across different sectors to tell us about how gender relates to climate change in national policies and climate action.

UNDP published a regional report on gender and climate change, summarizing all efforts to include gender considerations in climate change and highlighting some good practices in the country. How was this done and what was achieved?

Three years ago, we conducted an analysis of the gender aspect of climate change challenges in our country as part of a regional project supported by the Global Support Program (GSP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

​In a short period of time, going step-by-step, we managed to include gender as a consideration in the preparation of the national Plans and Biennial update reports on climate change. Our efforts, recorded in the GSP publication, were accepted as good practices in the region and beyond. This pilot initiative incentivized the country to integrate gender and climate change at the policy level, and UNDP remains committed to continuing its support for the mainstreaming of aspects of gender into climate activities through other ongoing projects. The pilot initiative also strengthened the cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, while creating the right conditions for the inclusion of gender and climate change in new strategic documents that are being developed

Pavlina Zdraveva, Climate Change Project Manager, UNDP

Is the link between gender and climate change in line with the guidelines set by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change? How well does North Macedonia manage to meet its obligations to the international community on this issue? Is this also an EU priority?

„Linking gender with climate change is high on the agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations, the international community, and the European Union. It’s a recognized fact that climate change affects women and men and members of different socio-economic and ethnic groups differently.

UNFCCC notes that "women are increasingly at the heart of the challenges posed by climate change" and is working to raise this issue to the highest level, to encourage women's participation in negotiations and to strengthen gender equality in the outcome documents of the UNFCC, as well as the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the Climate Investment Fund.

Our country always tries to follow the demands related to climate change to the greatest extent possible, and the inclusion of the gender aspect is no exception. The most important lesson learned is that gender considerations can increase the efficiency of climate activities in Macedonia".

Dr. Teodora Obradovic-Grncarovska, State Counselor for Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning

Given your experience as State Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, can you explain why it is important to link gender and climate change in policy?

So far climate policies have been gender-neutral, but we think that it is extremely important to include gender as a key aspect. There are many reasons for this, but let me outline the most salient points:
•    The economic activities of many women are related to sectors directly affected by climate change or that can contribute to mitigation the mitigation of climate change, such as agriculture (including cattle breeding), waste selection, energy efficiency of buildings and household heating choices, and transport (women choose to commute by waling, cycling and using public transport more often than men).
•    Climate change increases the vulnerability of women since they are more vulnerable than men.
•    Women are more involved in home-schooling and play a substantial role in helping young people to develop and adopt healthy lifestyle habits and values as they relate to climate change mitigation".

Ana Petrovska, National Point of Contact at the Platform for Climate Change Transparency

What are some of the important factors in planning for a more successful implementation of future activities related to gender and climate actions, in terms of the internal capacities of governmental institutions, legal framework, as well as the feasibility preconditions set by donors? 

„It is of the utmost importance to recognize the real consequences of climate change on our citizens, especially regarding women who are not well-informed about the policies, initiatives and programmes on the national and international level.

In my opinion, I think that informed women are a general precondition for the successful implementation of climate policies as it allows them the opportunity to express their opinions and positions on this issue. This will help us as policymakers to better foresee their needs and propose adequate measures in the new Law on Equal Opportunities and the Strategy for Equal Opportunities.

Also, it is very important that we have the municipalities onboard for this issue so they can mobilize their internal human resources in providing data on the issues they’re facing and so that we can foresee what activities will help to them to overcome the challenges each municipality is facing.

NGOs are also important stakeholders that have a proven track record of being stable partners that can substantially contribute on this issue with their experience. Nonetheless, it is important to conduct trainings for representatives of institutions or municipalities who are willing to learn more about this subject, to learn how to recognize the linkages between gender and climate change and in that sense to facilitate the implementation of policies".

MA Elena Grozdanova, State Counselor for equal opportunities at Ministry of Labor and Social Policy at Republic of North Macedonia 

What kind of activities is the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy planning in the upcoming period when it comes to intersecting gender and climate actions? To which extent is the general public familiar with this subject?

„The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy through the Sector for Equal Opportunities in currently focused on preparing a new Strategy for Gender Equality and to drafting amendments to the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. The draft Strategy defines a special strategic area for women and climate change which, through specific activities, measures, and indicators, will work to improve the situation and reduce the harmful effects of climate change on women. The draft Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change will be considered in the preparation of this strategic goal.

In the proposed amendments to the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, also as a separate area in which the provisions of this law will be applied, climate change will be explicitly stated.

The public and state administration, both locally and nationally, still do not recognize the importance of gender in tackling climate change. The issue is very important and therefore is a priority that is being worked on, so as a ministry we will continue to work on raising public awareness on the importance of include gender considerations in climate change policies".

Jovana Trenchevska, State Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy



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