Author: Jelena Kozbašić
Greater vulnerability of women to climate change is the result of social structures and norms that put women at unfavorable, not natural predispositions, said Dr. Marina Andrijević from the International Institute for Systems Analysis in her introductory speech at the online forum What is the gender of climate change? held on December 14, organized by the Climate Forum.
“Women suffer more than men in certain weather disasters, either with a fatal outcome or injuries, or suffer from some longer-term consequences,” explained Dr. Andrijević. As some of the examples of longer-term consequences, she cited domestic violence or a lower probability of continuing schooling in case of poor financial conditions. In addition, according to Marina, women have insufficient access to resources to fight climate change individually or collectively.
Tanja Popovicki, programme manager at RES Foundation, Zorica Skakun, gender equality advisor on humanitarian programs, and Višnja Baćanović from Gender Knowledge Hub also took part in the event. The moderator of the forum was Nemanja Milović, the founder and editor of the klima101.rs portal.
Zorica Skakun emphasizes that gender equality requires the transformation of a system that generates inequalities. “I would like the attention to be focused not only on women as victims, but to observe a whole hierarchical system that generates inequality and violence where women and men participate together,” said Skakun.
Višnja Baćanović also agrees with the message about the necessity of deeper change. “In order for solutions to be truly gender-sensitive, we need to go deeper and transform the various things that make the system what it is,” she said, noting that economic gains from natural resources are mostly for men, while negative consequences are shared by the whole community.
Adviser for gender equality Zorica Skakun reminded that the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 include the creation of a gender equality society and pointed out that the crisis time is the most suitable for destabilizing the existing patriarchal systems, norms and roles. “Now is the opportunity to see things from the outside because our social fabric is being torn apart in the crisis.”
The fact that women make up only one third of licensed energy managers in Serbia is just one in a series that reflects their unequal representation in the energy sector compared to men, said Tanja Popovicki from the RES Foundation.
“Over 75% of women sit in public buildings in Serbia in the field of health, social protection and education. They should simply have a say when planning measures to improve efficiency, when planning thermal comfort and when discussing the energy services that are offered,” Popovicki stated.
The Women’s Platform for the Development of Serbia has existed for 20 years, and last year it made a document on the importance of eco-feminism and climate justice in Serbia, Zorica Skakun revealed. However, in addition to women, men are also important actors in achieving gender equality.
“It’s not a job that men do for women, nor is it something that has nothing to do with men. It is a joint work that we have to do “, concluded Skakun.
“If we make solutions in the communities that will meet the needs of women, they will definitely be good for society as a whole, and also for nature,” said Višnja Baćanović.
Dr. Marina Andrijević agrees with that, presenting the idea that a more gender-equal society will be more progressive in strategies for combating climate change. “There are indications from macroeconomic studies that countries with a higher share of women in parliament are adopting stricter climate policies. Societies that are more equal, that seek their talents in both halves of the population, are simply at an advantage.”
Tanja Popovicki pointed out the problem of indoor air pollution due to heating and cooking on old and inefficient wood stoves. “Research shows that women spend much more time at home, and these differences are especially large in rural areas, which would mean that they are much more exposed to the negative effects that result from this inefficient combustion.”
Women have the competence to participate in public policy-making in the climate change sector, it is necessary to encourage them to get more involved, the participants agreed. As a final result of the process of achieving gender equality, a change in consciousness, paradigm and the system itself as a generator of inequality is expected.
If you want to watch the whole event, you can do so on the Facebook page Green Fest – Belgrade and on the YouTube channel Klima101.