New report: gender equity solutions missing from municipal climate plans

TUCSON, Arizona— A recently released report by the Center for Biological Diversity that analyzed municipal climate plans found that although women and people of diverse gender identities are disproportionately affected by climate change, none of the plans reviewed mentioned family planning, contraception or reproductive health solutions. Only one mentioned gender equity.

“Societies are more resilient when governments invest in women and girls,” said Kelley Dennings, an activist with the Center. “Women’s empowerment solutions to climate change risks, such as sexual and reproductive health, benefit people and the planet. Population pressure makes it even harder to meet emission reduction targets and recover from climate-related disasters.

The new report Gender and the climate crisis: fair solutions for climate plans, examined climate plans from every region of the country – representing about 10% of the US population – for gender-empowering solutions such as access to modern methods of voluntary family planning, comprehensive sex education, affordable sexual and reproductive health care options and the creation of equitable opportunities for women. The report found that none of the plans included family planning, contraception or reproductive health solutions and only one mentioned gender equity as a climate change mitigation or adaptation strategy.

“Women, girls and people of diverse gender identities are more affected by the climate emergency than men, so it’s crucial that climate change solutions include them,” Dennings said. “Reducing population pressure by providing comprehensive, convenient and affordable reproductive health care, including abortion, is essential to mitigating the long-term effects of climate change and strengthening conservation. Supporting gender pay equity and investing in education, literacy and training for women and girls are also proven strategies.

The United States has an important role to play in improving women’s empowerment at home and abroad. The Center for Biological Diversity recommends that local governments work within existing climate plan structures to address gender inequality as a public health issue; educate and train government staff on gender, inclusion and the climate crisis; collect relevant data related to gender, race and climate change; building women’s empowerment programs; and create gender equality advisory committees.

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