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Gender mainstreaming and climate change

March 2013

Margaret Alston


Gender mainstreaming is the process of incorporating gender into any policy, legislation, or action. This process aims to have governments and organizations take gender inequality into account in all areas, rather than just assigning it to a specific women’s policy unit. However, gender mainstreaming tends to do a poor job at actually lessening gender inequalities. This is because governments often use gender mainstreaming as a tool to uphold existing inequalities, rather than a way to achieve radical change, as feminists originally intended. Nevertheless, the author argues that gender mainstreaming does still have the ability to create real change if governments utilize it correctly.

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Policy Implications

Women are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Therefore, the author argues that gender mainstreaming should be re-utilized, in the radical way that it was intended, in order to combat these inequalities. If governments take gender mainstreaming seriously, and thoroughly analyze the gendered effects of policy, rather than just taking a quick glance at gender statistics, then it has the potential to make real change when it comes to the gender inequality caused by climate change, as well as in other areas.

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