On the realities of gender inclusion in climate change policies in Nepal

Anu Rai

(She/Her)

Kathmandu University

I am an environmental researcher who believes in the use of sound science for decision making.

Nepalese

Key Takeaways

    How To Apply Insights

    • Policies need to address prevalent structural inequalities and specific social barriers such as lack of access to information and decision-making authority, and bureaucratic administrative procedures that have discouraged women participation.
    • Women need to be recognized as the agency and not just the vulnerable population.
    • The collection of gender-disaggregated data in all sectors related to climate change needs to be promoted to prevent the formation of gender-blind policies.
    • Women should be included in the agenda-setting or policy formulation stage with the focus on improving women’s qualitative participation to influence decisions and practices while promoting their numerical representation.

    Findings & Research Conclusions

    The review delved into the issue of how climate change and related policy documents in Nepal have addressed the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change. Out of the 24-climate change related policies reviewed, 5 were found to be gender-blind, 15 were found to be gender-neutral, 3 were found to be gender-specific, and only 1 was found to be gender-transformative. This shows a clear lack of gender-transformative policy development.

    Gender-specific policies that have been formulated thus far have failed to address barriers such as lack of access to information and decision-making authority, and bureaucratic administrative procedures that have discouraged women participation. We recommend gender-transformative policy development as it has been made clear that unless prevalent structural inequalities are addressed, the vulnerable cannot adapt to climate change impacts.

    Research's methodology

    We have reviewed policy documents with a thematic area of focus on climate change, and national documents related to climate change on the environment, forestry and watershed, agriculture, and disaster. Through a gendered lens, the policies are evaluated as gender-blind or gender-aware. For this, we searched for the documents with the terms – “gender”, “women”, “men”, “climate change” or its derivatives. We then analysed the context in which these words were used: whether or not the policies separate the roles of different actors or seek to address gender-specific needs which enabled the classification of the policies into two broad categories – gender blind and gender aware. Within gender aware the documents were further classified into gender-neutral – policy targeting “men”, “women” or their derivatives, gender-specific – policy addressing the specific needs of different actors or gender-transformative – policy that transform social structures.

    The research has highlighted the clear lack of gender transformative policies which ensures that the prevalent structural inequalities remain unaddressed which thereby contributes in the vulnerable being unable to adapt to climate change impacts.

    However..

    The review focuses on four sectors only which are environment, forestry and watershed, agriculture, and disaster. However, there are many other sectors impacted by climate change.

    ConceptDefinition
    Gender-specific needsIt refers to the particular needs of males and females that are unique to their gender groups. Since women have been the traditionally overlooked or disadvantaged groups, gender-specific needs tend to highlight the needs of women.
    Gender-blind policiesPolicies that do not differentiate the roles of male and female actors
    Gender-transformative policiesPolicies that promote gender equality by effecting a change in gender roles

    Reference this research

    Anu Rai, Deep Prakash Ayadi, Bibek Shrestha & Aashish Mishra (2021). ‘On the realities of gender inclusion in climate change policies in Nepal’,Policy Design and Practice, 4(4), pp.501-516

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