It’s stacked against them. Climate change is impacting developing countries in a real way, disrupting ancestral patterns used by the rural poor for farming, fishing, and daily life. On top of this, women and men experience climate change differently as gender inequalities worsen women’s coping. Women traditional are responsible for the tasks most likely to be affected by climate change: agriculture, food security, and water management.

How can women in these communities be empowered? For one, there needs to be a gender-responsive approach towards climate change policymaking and programming so that women can be important stakeholders when addressing climate change with their skills related to mitigation, adaption, and the reduction of risks.

A manual has been created for including women in the design process by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA). CRiSTAL, which stands for Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods, is designed to help project planners and managers integrate climate change adaption and risk reduction into community-level projects. It defines gender and includes warm-up activities and exercises that explain climate change that empower poor women to be powerful agents of change. The CRiSTAL approach also “provides a gender-specific vulnerability analysis for different parts of the population, highlighting the specific coping strategies of women, and resulting in clear pointers for how gender specific measures will need to be incorporated into projects.” From this manual, women gain access to knowledge about different hazards, risk reduction, resources and technology that reshape negotiations of comprehensive regimes on climate change. The manual includes examples of natural resource management projects focusing on drought coping strategies in Bangladesh, Mali, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

The manual concludes with a call for more government and NGO support, including providing skill transfer through ICT training for women that can change the perception of women in their communities.

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