Nobel Women’s Initiative: A strategic approach to climate action


A strategic paper by the Nobel Women’s Initiative

Canada can be the global leader in promoting environmental and climate change action and gender equality. By taking a more integrated, feminist approach, the results of these related efforts can be amplified. This strategic approach has the potential to become a key pillar in addressing gender, climate and environmental priorities:

• There is a clear link between women’s rights and how women experience climate change. When women lack full and equal rights, they suffer disproportionately from negative climate change impacts. In turn, climate change negatively impacts women and their rights.

• Often, climate change policies and programs treat women as either victims or environmental saviours, rather than potent agents of change. This approach reinforces gender inequality by disregarding women’s agency or adding to their already heavy workloads.

• Local-level, women-led initiatives are having significant positive impacts on climate change action, and gender equality. Yet, global climate finance flows are being directed elsewhere. Even when donors fund local-level climate change projects, they rarely take gender equality issues into account. Funding that targets women’s rights and gender equality, meanwhile, tends to overlook women’s climate change adaptation efforts.

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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• Canada can bolster its leadership in environmental and climate action and gender equality, by strengthening its feminist approach. Canada should:


Increase the proportion of climate change funding directed to projects led by women’s organizations. Prioritize partnerships with local women’s rights actors in calls for proposals for climate change projects. Provide core funding for women’s rights organizations and movements that address climate change impacts. Establish a dedicated Women’s Fund for Climate Adaptation.


Facilitate, fund and support the participation of grassroots women’s organizations in climate policy and finance discussions. Advocate at international climate fora for the meaningful inclusion of women who are directly affected by climate change.


Strengthen the capacity of grassroots women leaders and their organizations to participate substantively in climate change fora and negotiations. Invest in movement-building of women’s rights actors on climate change. Fund consortiums that build the collective power of women’s rights and environmental justice movements.


Advocate for a deeper understanding of climate change as a critical human rights issue at international fora. Socialize the importance of taking a feminist approach to tackling climate change with other governments and stakeholders. Use Canada’s influence to advocate for a more inclusive Green Climate Fund1.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)