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Gender and Climate Change: Editorial

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R. Masika
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Gender issues are rarely addressed in climate change debates and initiatives. The international response to climate change has largely focused on scientific and technological measures to tackle climate change, with less attention being given to the social implications of climate change for poor men and women. While scientific approaches remain crucial, this collection of articles argues that political and socio-economic issues must be taken into consideration. A key issue is the extent to which poverty or gender should be the entry point for vulnerability reduction measures. Skutsch's paper suggests, for example, that poverty is the main variable, and that the issue of women's vulnerability to climate change is best tackled through gender-responsive poverty reduction measures. Other contributions highlight the central role that gender inequalities play in women's sensitivity to climate shocks. For example, Dankelman's review demonstrates the significant role that gender relations - through their role in influencing which resources women or men can access - play in determining sensitivity to climate change, and their capacity to cope with the outcomes. Minimising vulnerability to climate change will require sustainable development interventions in multiple sectors (agriculture, health, employment, education, and so on). Further research is required into the gender-differentiated impacts of climate threats. Policies need to shift to accommodate the equity and sustainability implications of climate change.

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