Gender and Climate Change

Gender Mainstreaming in PAKLIM

The causal relationship between gender and anthropogenic climate change is very complex and multi-dimensional and has very practical consequences for the GIZ’s work in the field of climate action. Gender is understood as a “concept that refers to the social differences between women and men that have been learned, are changeable over time and have wide variations both within and between cultures” In other words, gender – unlike biological characteristics – refers to roles, rights, relationships and responsibilities ascribed to men and women within a given society and cultural context.

Why should gender be an issue for climate policy?

Firstly, gender is a cross-sectoral socio-economic variable similar to age or economic wealth that must be taken into account when planning and implementing policies and measures.
Secondly, gender equality is internationally recognized as a core objective in itself that is central to sustainable development and the Millenium Development Goals .
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, gender is intricately linked to the effects of global climate change and to the activities and measures undertaken to respond to the latter:

  1. Women and men are differently affected by climate change:
    While climate change is a global challenge, it affects some demographic groups and their ability to respond differently than others. In this respect, gender-specific roles and responsibilities ascribed to men and women within a given society lead to inequalities in the access to resources affected by environmental change, to barriers to participation, and to unequal adaptive capacities. In other works, socially constructed gender roles act as an intervening variable that causes women and men to be affected differently by climate change. Many policies and measures that focus solely on the gender-specific vulnerability, run the risk of victimising women, thereby strengthening unequal gender roles.
  2. Women and men exhibit different ways of responding to climate change:
    Because of their different gender roles and responsibilities, women and men exhibit different ways of responding to and coping with the effects of climate change. For instance, women living in forest communities have a comprehensive knowledge of their ecosystem, are responsible for resource management and sustainable land use in the face of environmental changes to ensure their family’s food security. However, their knowledge of resource management and their efforts to adapt to climate change and manage resources remain largely unrecognised and unsupported. Unfortunately, the untapped potential of women as ‘agents of change’ remains woefully neglected in climate policy. However, it is crucial for efficient and just climate action not only to take into account the needs and the potential of men and women to contribute to adaptation and mitigation.
  3. Women and men are differently affected by and involved in climate change action:
    If adaptation and mitigation measures are not planned and implemented gender-sensitively, they can lead to unwanted effects. Actions that disregard inter-linkages between gender and climate change and fail to identify women as a target group, will allocate resources inefficiently or may strengthen gender inequalities. This gender blindness leads to ineffective policies that fail to address the needs of a significant portion of a community’s population, leave unequal gender roles unchallenged or even intensified, and hinder households, communities and countries from building resilience to climate change .

Gender mainstreaming in Indonesia

PAKLIM, as a GIZ-supported programme, is classified as a G-1 programme, meaning that gender equality is not the primary objective, but that a gender perspective must be integrated into the activities of every working area and on all project levels, which is called gender mainstreaming. A prerequisite for gender mainstreaming is a target-oriented gender analysis to identify the needs, interests, decision making powers, and potential for action of women and men due to their assigned gender roles. Gender mainstreaming is part of the overall GIZ gender strategy and gender analysis is mandatory for GIZ-supported projects. Moreover, gender mainstreaming is identified as a policy priority in the National Development Plan of Indonesia . The Presidential Instruction on Gender Mainstreaming INPRES No. 9/2000 emphasises the need to mainstream gender dimensions in the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all government policies and programmes. Gender mainstreaming is not only mandatory and necessary both for PAKLIM and for all Indonesian ministries, but rather “gender equality is smart economics: it can enhance economic efficiency and improve other development outcomes ”. In other words, the goal is not only gender equality in itself, but the development of a comprehensive and integrative approach that maximises the potential for climate action by identifying and involving all relevant stakeholders and target groups (i.e. both men and women), in order to allocate resources efficiently, create ownership, and ensure long-term success.

What does this mean for climate policy in Indonesia? What are practical examples of the links between gender and climate change? … read more …

Additional information on gender and climate change can be found at:

For more information, please contact:

Riana Puspasari
Gender Advisor
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Gender: A concept that refers to the social differences between women and men that been learned, are changeable over time and have wide variations both within and between cultures.

Gender analysis: The study of differences in the conditions, needs, participation rates, access to resources and development, control of assets, decision making powers, etc. between women and men on their assigned gender roles.

Gender mainstreaming: concerns planning, (re) organisation, improvement and evaluation of policy processes so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all development policies, strategies and interventions, at all levels and at all stages by the actors normally involved therein.

Gender equality: The concept meaning that all human beings are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by strict gender roles; that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally .

[i] European Commission (1998): 100 words for equality. A glossary of terms on equality between women and men, p.18, (available at:
[ii] As embodied e.g. in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3: Promoting gender equality and empowering women;
[iii] Skinner, Emmeline (2011): Gender and Climate Change, Overview Report, UK BRIDGE, Cutting Edge Pack Series, Brighton: Institute of Development, p.19.
[iv] Bappenas (2010): Appendices – Regulation of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Number 5 of 2010 Regarding the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2010-2014, Book 1 National Priorities. Jakarta: Bappenas, pp.58f.
[v] World Bank (2011): World Development Report 2012, Gender Equality and Development, Washington DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, p.3.
[vi] See i
[vii] See i
[viii] European Parliament and European Council (2004): Regulation (EC) No. 806/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on promoting gender equality in development cooperation, Official Journal of the European Union I 143/40, Brussels: European Union, (available at:
[ix] See i


IUCN has published the first index that measures progress on gender equality and protecting the environment:


Visit the Indonesian-German Strengthening Women’s Rights (SWR) project on Facebook: