Gender equality in climate policy and practice hindered by assumptions

Gender has a powerful influence on people’s experience of, and resilience to, climate change. Global climate change policy is committed to tackling gender inequalities in mitigation and adaptation. However, progress is hindered by numerous challenges, including an enduring set of gender assumptions: women are caring and connected to the environment, women are a homogenous and vulnerable group, gender equality is a women’s issue and gender equality is a numbers game. We provide an overview of how these assumptions essentialize women’s and men’s characteristics, narrowly diagnose the causes of gender inequality, and thereby propel strategies that have unintended and even counterproductive consequences. We offer four suggestions for a more informed pursuit of gender equality in climate change policy and practice.