News

Women Seek Voice In Climate Treaty

Humanitarian organization pushes for gender equality at the Copenhagen conference on climate change

Women in a flood-prone community in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, gather once a week to share ideas about how to adapt to worsening climate and rising seas
Women in a flood-prone community in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, gather once a week to share ideas about how to adapt to worsening climate and rising seas

Multimedia

Audio
Frances Alonzo

One of the world's largest private international humanitarian organizations wants to ensure women have a major say in any climate change agreement. 

CARE, with anti-poverty programs in 65countries worldwide, has negotiators in Copenhagen pushing to give women equality all levels of policy-making leading to a final treaty.

"We know that empowering women means effective change,” says Christina Chan, a CARE senior policy analyst. She says gender balance is needed from the local levels, all the way up to global policy making.

Seeking More Than Lip Service

"Some countries want that text eliminated," says Chan, referring to treaty language that would ensure a central role for women a role in decision-making processes. "Leaving it out," she adds, "could mean that adaptation money is not spent on things that make a difference in the lives of people most affected by climate change."  

And it's not just about including nice words to appease women.  Chan says specific language is critical. "It matters how money is allocated,  how it’s targeted, when it’s targeted, and that it’s targeted effectively."

CARE Says Role For Women Critical

Chan says the evidence showing the need for action is clear.  A recent United Nations Population Fund report shows women in poor, less developed countries are bearing the brunt of climate change.  The report suggests women are the most at risk because of traditional roles of tending to the family, cooking, collecting water and farming.

Chan says that CARE has been imploring delegates to not to forget the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world. She says the current negotiating text that parties are working on does include gender equality in the language. 

Governments Divided On Addressing Gender Issue

Chan adds that the governments of Lesotho and Denmark have highlighted the need for more female posts under the convention as well as the treaty addressing the needs and rights of women.  

CARES says other countries supporting the language include Finland, Equador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Iceland, Norway, as well as the European Union and a large block of African nations.

The United States has been noticeably absent on the subject of including gender equality in the negotiating text of the climate treaty. But Kate Gordon, an energy policy expert at the Center for American Progress, says the Obama administration committed to the issue.

“I don’t think the U.S. has taken a formal position," says Gorden. "But we know that Secretary (Hillary) Clinton both historically and in her current position is very focused on the central role of women in global issues and in foreign policy.”  

Critics may question the need for gender-based language in the treaty.  But Gordon agrees women will bear the impact of climate change policies and need to have a say in what that impact will be. "I think that it would a travesty not to have them at some central place in the decision-making process,” says Gordon.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs