n the first Blog Part 1: Women as agents of change we clearly highlighted that women are less represented in the decision-making processes for designing the climate change national policies and measures as well as at the home level decisions making, and at the same time it is obvious that their potential, as real agents of change, is not fully recognized in the efforts to combat climate change.
What we would like to analyze here, is to what extent the designed policies and measures are (un)equally targeting both women and men. Numbers and narratives are here as well used as a source of analysis.
Through the lens of the numbers.
Short description of the 1223 respondents` profile from the Narrative Study – Gender and Climate Change, Macedonia – micronarratives: Demography: Little over half of the respondents - 53% are women (47% are-men), and almost half are aged 30-49 (42%). The majority of the respondents are Macedonian (71%). The second largest ethnic group are Albanian (22%). Around two thirds of the respondents live in urban setting (65%), and one third – in rural areas (35%). The majority of the respondents are married or living together with partners (70%). 64% live in the house they own and 18% in a flat they own. Education and work: One quarter of the respondents are educated to secondary level (25%), and almost half have Bachelor or vocational education (43%). 17% work in the government, 15% in service, 15% in agriculture. Almost 17% of the respondents are unemployed. Vulnerability. 14% of the vulnerable groups are respondents with low income living with extended family, 3.7% are aged over 65 with low income living alone, low income single parent led households are 1.9% and those with special needs constitute 1.5% Property/car ownership. Up to 20% of the respondents own a house, land and a car; 19% own only a house and a car; about 15% do not own any of these.Brief description of official national statistics - labor market rate and activity (as one of the key vulnerability factors). The activity rate in 2019 is 67.8% for men 46.7% for women, the employment rate is 56.7% for men, 38.1% for women, while unemployment rate is 16.5% for men and 18.4% for women and the rate of inactive population is 38.2% for men, 61.8% for women.
Now, let’s see what numbers are “narrating” when it comes to the (un)equal distribution of governmental measures in the mitigation area.
Gender indicators measuring the national mitigation activities are providing numbers showing that female participation in programs for subventions of activities to reduce GHG emissions is significantly lower than male`s participation. In 2020, only 4 (four) women and 16 men from vulnerable groups (out of the total number of 164,702 unemployed people – national statistics) used the benefits of the subsidies for the purchase of pellet stoves (based on the Program for protection of vulnerable energy consumers), which is 2% of all the subsidized persons.
Similar differences are reflected in many other programs and subsidies, which is a clear sign that it is time to change the criteria for supporting households at both national and local levels:
We will not be going deeper in cross-referencing unemployment with other types of vulnerability, and what we would like to underline is that vulnerability and gender must be strongly considered while developing and granting mitigation measures. That will provide sustainability and effectiveness of the efforts in climate change resilience.
Who helps citizens cope with the challenges of climate change?
“Micronarrative: Drought. Experience: Due to high temperature and drought, I did not have enough water for daily needs, nor for irrigation. Due to the extreme high temperature and drought, the crop dried up.” Female, Macedonian, Rural area, Married, 30-49.
Help to deal with these situations came from, % Who helped these people (respondents) to deal with climate change related situations? What did they narrate?
All the listed methods/sources that helped dealing the climate change situation were more used by men than women, even though in some cases the difference is insignificant. Still, once again, men show more active or pro-active approach in dealing with climate change situations, and in using the offered help (formal or informal).
This pro-activity may relay on the traditional role of men in family and in society as a “head”, which can be confirmed by the fact that was argued in our previous blog, which is that women are less represented in the home budget management, and are less represented in the decision making processes, at home and in the society (more info in Blog 1).
That traditional gender roles in the family and society are still very strong can be confirmed by other research and studies, such as the recent UN study of new ones (Nacka et al, 2019). This research is not only given in the model of distribution of your home budget (personal and shared means between husband and wife), because there may be a shortfall in the joint home budget, which is possible by embodying gender inequality, when it comes to the access to resources and deciding on their priority.
This can be compared to the micronarratives` findings on reports on the individual mitigation activities women and men undertook analyzed by their vulnerability. Following categories of vulnerability cross-referenced by gender were analyzed: Single parent and head of household with low income, A person aged over 65 living along with low income, A person with special needs, A person living with your extended family with low income, and none of the above.
The micronarratives provided us with findings that persons (men or women) that declared “no vulnerability” have undertook most of the mitigation activities as “Replaced wood and eclectic stove with an inverter/more efficient heating” or have “Insulated their house”.
In this sense, these data indicate that only a certain group of citizens benefits more from existing measures and policies and that vulnerable groups need to be properly addressed in government programs to improve household energy efficiency and / or other steps that mitigate the effects of climate change.
Cross-referencing gender with other types of vulnerability shows that multi-dimensioned vulnerability represents bigger obstacle to mitigate (at personal level) which is strongly related to the socio-economic aspects of vulnerability. Now, that is another aspect that has to be systematically tackled by the policy makers-namely, to clearly define different vulnerabilities in relation to climate change in different climate-related sectors, and ultimately cross-referenced by gender.
Energy poverty – based on gender should be properly addressed in the national mitigation measures by identifying vulnerable groups more precisely: Women are represented in 1/3 of the recipients of subsides for inverter air conditioners at the Public Call of City of Skopje, which shows that the distribution of this subsidies are marking big gender gap that should be addressed in the next Calls.
Micronarrative: Just unbelievable: Experience: During one spring night a huge storm occurred which caused an incredible flood. We had planted areas with crops from which we earned money for living. We tried to get out but it is not possible. We feared for crops. When the storm calmed down, there was a huge amount of water around our house. In the morning we went to the fields and were amazed. The landscape was changed. The plots were unrecognizable. There was a surface through which water passed. In addition to the destroyed crops, the agricultural area was also destroyed. The fertile land was gone, and there were remains of traction plastic, shoes ...” Female, Widowed, 65+
What did women report as most helpful when dealing with climate change related situations? Rules and procedures!
What women found most helpful in dealing with climate change negative impacts is rules and procedures. This must be considered while measures` development, that women should be engaged in communication strategies in informing about possible support in mitigation measures.
“Micronarrative: Title: Drought wine and tobacco halved plantations. Experience: we have vineyards and tobacco plantations and in 2018 there was a big city and more than 50% of the crop was destroyed. The state helped a bit with the subsidies but we have nothing in the village so we could irrigate the fields especially in such situations” Female, Married, Rural area, Aged 30-49, A person living with your extended family with low income
Women must be enabled and encouraged to actively participate and use governmental measures. The absence of supportive programs for their empowerment is evident.
While we argued in the previous blog that women should be equally recognized as agents of change, we argue here that equal access to the provided measures must be enabled to them, considering the still persisting gender roles, which disabled them from taking advantages on this measures.
These blog series are one very, very small piece of the efforts of the Global Support Programme for National Communications and Biennial Update, UNDP`s North Macedonia country office and Macedonian Governmental counterparts, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, to introduce a systematic approach and methodology gender responsive climate change policies, and vice versa- development of climate resilient gender equality policies.