Approaches to Economic Empowerment of Rural Women for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Implications for Policy
There are several ways of promoting women’s economic participation while also counteracting climate change. One approach in the field of climate mitigation is the promotion of renewable energies that help avoid greenhouse gas emissions. The potential of rural women as agents of change for climate mitigation and adaptation remains untapped: Their extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of the environment and resource conservation is not given due consideration. In terms of economic participation, they are not paid for the environmental services that they already provide (example, reforestation). The potential contribution of rural women to climate mitigation by being part of the economic cycle is not sufficiently exploited. The economic empowerment of women through climate mitigation and adaptation fosters economic growth and socioeconomic development, reduces poverty, keeps environmental problems in check, and increases the potential for adaptation, which is to the benefit of both women and men. Enhancing the economic empowerment of women is a catalyst for development, which helps boost a country’s economic growth, promotes the socioeconomic development not only of women, but of the entire population, and helps reduce poverty. It is observed that less attention is paid to the potential that lies in the combination of climate mitigation/ adaptation and the economic empowerment of rural women. Yet mitigation or adaptation activities offer opportunities to advance the economic empowerment of women. In particular, this applies to work that is already being undertaken by women or activities in which women could assume a leading role. In developing countries, for instance, women frequently play a major role in the reforestation and afforestation of cleared land and in forest conservation, yet they have hardly ever benefited from these environmental services. The paper addresses the economic empowerment of rural women through climate change mitigation and adaptation. The study recommends that measures to promote the economic participation of women can be integrated into climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. In order for rural women to play an economic role, an institutional, legal and political framework is required that enables and/or makes it easier for rural women to hold their own in the market. Concrete, promising project measures at the local level should therefore be combined with advisory services at the political level related to climate change and the economic empowerment of women, with a view to initiating structural reform.
Key words: Empowerment, rural women, climate, mitigation and adaptation.