By Andréia Coutinho Louback

Why to talk about the climate agenda from a gender perspective? In our last Gender and Climate Special , we have already showed the image below. It is an emblematic moment of COP21, in 2015, which celebrated the Paris Agreement.

Among the official national delegations at COP21, there were more than 12,000 men, and only 5,900 women. That is, women were less than a third among negotiators. They were also in smaller number (43%) among the nearly 8,000 observers of the negotiations, who were members of civil society who could watch the meetings. In other words: the decision-making process was completely unbalanced. These data were released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Almost five years later, here we are, and the climate community still faces a representativeness, equity and participation crisis regarding decision-making processes. Currently, we face several issues related to the under-representation of women in a field that is mostly and traditionally male. By mapping problems, barriers and obstacles already so naturalized regarding women participation in the climate agenda, we believe that we take one more step towards outlining assertive strategies to overcome the structural inequalities among race, gender and class in Brazilian society. In fact, we start from the understanding that climate impacts have color, gender and a social place.

This panel, held on July 28 at the Brazilian Conference on Climate Change (CBMC, in the Portuguese acronym), was an initiative of the gender working group of the Climate Observatory. The OC (Portuguese acronym) is a network of around 50 civil society organizations dedicated to develop an action strategy with the potential to change the current situation. The goal of the group is to build and implement gender-sensitive climate actions that consider Brazilian history. Our intention, as a collective and as a movement, is to strengthen the climate-gender relationship not only within the network, but also and above all in the dialogue with other organizations.


A UN Women international report released this year showed that: 1) under the Climate Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, 67% of decision-making positions are held by men; 2) in fact, it is quite common to come across communications materials displaying only images of white male spokespeople guiding decisions about the future and creating solutions to the climate crisis; 3) there are different types of vulnerabilities that make climate change a unique threat for women, such as biological, physiological, cultural and social vulnerabilities, which vary across regions. For example, as we saw in the presentation by researcher Gabriela Couto in our last webinar on the topic , in 1991 Bangladesh registered a 91% mortality rate of women in the cyclone that passed through the country. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 had a 70% mortality rate among women.

These are just a few examples that show how the fight for climate stabilization will always be incomplete without a gender-based perspective. The panel invites us to think about the adoption of a Gender Action Plan . The Plan addresses several issues, focusing on the implementation and expansion of fair climate solutions, from an intersectional perspective. So, how can we “tropicalize” the Plan and adapt it to the domestic agenda? How can our country integrate the Plan into our climate action? Fortunately, the panel brought us some possibilities and answers! Check out!


Karina Penha, biologist and socio-environmental activist. She is currently an articulator of the organization Engajamundo, where she has coordinated the working group on climate;

Isadora Cardoso, political scientist and project coordinator for Gender CC – Women for Climate Justice in Germany;

Leide Aquino, activist and extractivist from Reserva Chico Mendes and coordinator of the Women’s Forum of the Alto Acre Region


Andréia Coutinho Louback, journalist and communications coordinator at Institute for Climate and Society (iCS)

Watch in Portuguese and share with your network!

The Gender Action Plan is available on the UNFCCC website in five languages:

Do you want to be part of the Gender Working Group of the Climate Observatory? Send an e-mail to Nara Perobelli:

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