Global Gender and Environment Outlook
The Global Gender and Environment Outlook (GGEO) occupies a unique space in the landscape of global assessments, highlighting a new framework with which to look at social and economic development. The pur- pose of the GGEO is not simply to “add women to the environment and stir”. It makes use of gender-based assessment frameworks along with the more traditional environmental assessment approach of the Driv- ers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses (DPSIR) methodology (UNEP 2012), thus requiring new questions and new methods.
Much economic growth in recent decades has been driven by the rapid expansion of natural resource use, especially in developing and emerging economies, and by the processing and consumption of fossil fuels. This has led to a concentration of environmental pressures in some parts of the world (UNEP 2016). Many environmental problems have been compounded by the risks and impacts of extreme weather and climate events, which disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations (UNEP 2016, IPCC 2014).
The drivers of environmental change are also differentiated by gender. Whether environmental changeis acute or slow and chronic, it has specific differentiated impacts on women and girls or on men and boys. Moreover, austerity measures and public spending cuts in recent years have exacerbated gender inequalities and increasingly shifted the burden of ensuring the survival of individuals and households onto the shoulders of women and girls (including through their use of natural resources), adding to their unpaid domestic and care work and time poverty (UN Women 2014). Using a gender-specific approach is an appropriate way to investigate the dynamic relationships between environmental change and gender equality, as well as between environmental sustainablity and the realization of women’s rights and empowerment (Leach 2015; Seager 2014a).
Growing recognition of the impacts of human activity on the environment is taking place at the same time as global policy and advocacy efforts to achieve gender equality together with equality for class/ income, race/ ethnicity and other differences) are gaining traction. As demonstrated in the GGEO, the push for gender equality is shaping a better understanding of the environment, while notions of gender equality are also shaped by environmental imperatives including the need for equal access to – and sharing of – the benefits of using and protecting ecosystems and natural resources (UN Women 2014, MA 2005).