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Climate Change and Disaster Mitigation: Gender Makes the Difference

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L. Aguilar
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Gender is absent from the climate change discussions and initiatives which have largely focused on mitigation (e.g. reduction of greenhouse gases) rather than on the adaptation strategies which poor women and men need for their security. This two-page fact sheet provides bullet-point evidence of how women bear the brunt of climate change and shows how drawing on the skills of women can greatly enhance the likely success of an initiative. For example, the community of La Masica in Honduras reported no deaths after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Six months earlier a gender-sensitive community education initiative on early warning systems and hazard management had led to the women taking over the abandoned task of monitoring the early warning systems. There are four major opportunities for addressing gender inequalities in climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes and policies:- recognising that women are already more vulnerable to poverty than men and have gender-specific needs in climate change driven scenarios- addressing gender-specific resource use patterns that can degrade the environment- using women's particular skills in managing household livelihoods and natural resources- strengthening the quantity and quality of women's participation in decision-making at all levels.

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