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Women and the environment: An Asia-Pacific Snapshot

Women and men, in all their diversities, interact with the environment differently. For instance, evidence shows that climate change has gender differentiated impacts, employment data indicate that women rely on natural resources more than men do, and literature is plentiful on the disproportionate barriers women face to own assets, the absence of which can limit their capacity to cope with disasters. Data on women’s representation in government bodies show that they are underrepresented in environmental decision-making, which limits their opportunities to shape environment policy. Examining statistics on the multiple connections between gender and the environment helps to shed light on the gendered impacts of climate change and how women’s resources, experiences and knowledge can help shape mitigation and adaptation policies. It highlights the importance of considering this nexus for policymaking, and thus it is key to promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development at large.

This brief makes use of existing data from various sources, ranging from official Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators to microdata from standardized surveys and geospatial information. Where results from statistical tests are presented, such as those obtained from logistic regression or random forest models, these need to be understood as associations and not causations. In such instances, links to methodology, caveats and other details about the analysis are provided in endnotes.

The range of environmental areas covered in this brief is limited by data availability. The connections between gender and the environment are complex and multidimensional in nature, and groups of women and men are not all affected equally. As, the availability of data on the gender-environment nexus is limited, it is impossible for the analysis to include all these factors. Acknowledging this limitation, this brief does not attempt to provide a comprehensive picture of environmental issues from a gender angle, but rather it offers a snapshot of available data that could inform environmental decision-making.

The structure of this brief aligns with that of the framework proposed in Mainstreaming gender in environment statistics for the SDGs and beyond: Identifying priorities in Asia and the Pacific, which includes internationally agreed indicators structured around six areas (sections A to F), and was developed with the advice of gender and environment data experts through regional and international consultations. For some of the areas where official statistics on the gender-environment nexus remain unavailable, additional analysis has been conducted and this is noted in endnotes.

Source: UN Women