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Equity and Gender in Climate Change

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In order for climate change mitigation or adaptive strategies to succeed gender must be taken into account. These four position papers have been written to support Capacity Building, Leadership and Action (CBLA) - a project set up to provide assistance to South African industries to enable them to mitigate against Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions - by incorporating a gender perspective. The first paper draws the links between climate change, energy-use, gender relations and the impacts on every-day lives of poor women in Africa. It highlights the difference in energy use in developed and developing countries and between men and women goes on to explore the impact of energy use on climate change. The second paper provides a description of trends in South African climate change policy, arguing that despite South Africa's progressive stance towards climate change, gender is yet to be mainstreamed in this area. The third paper reviews gender equality and capacity building and argues that an understanding of the linkages between these concepts is critical to climate change work. It suggests that obstacles to mainstreaming gender concerns in the South African context have been exacerbated by historical oppression and that large-scale quantitative studies often fail to uncover the ?context-specific? social processes that prevent locals from responding positively to mitigation of climate change. The last paper argues that the construction of knowledge around climate change in South Africa is often exclusive to ?and does not enable non-professionals, particularly women, to engage in the debates. Together, the papers conclude that: decision makers often do not mainstream gender and equity in climate change; that climate change discourse is too technical and disadvantages certain groups; and that climate change is perceived not to be a local priority, but an environmental imperialism.

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