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Women, girls and biodiversity loss: an evidence and policy review

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  • UserFrancesca Booker (IIED), Hilary Alison (Green Goals) and Fleur Nash (University of Cambridge)
  • ClockTuesday 03 May 2022, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseDelivered online via Zoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fleur Nash.

Across countries and cultures, gendered differences and inequalities mean that women and men often have contrasting roles and responsibilities, knowledge, needs and priorities, access, user and ownership rights, decision-making power, and risks and vulnerabilities. These shape the ways women and men use and conserve biodiversity, and affect their sensitivities to biodiversity loss. In particular, gendered inequalities will mean that women and girls, especially indigenous peoples and those living in poverty and rural communities are differentially and disproportionately affected by biodiversity loss. This will detrimentally affect their human rights, including rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, culture and self-determination. This talk will share the findings from a rapid review conducted for the UK Government Department of Environment and Rural Affairs. The review aimed to understand the existing evidence about the impacts of biodiversity loss on women and girls, and analysed how existing international and national policy addresses the priorities of women and girls. The review revealed a lack of evidence on the impacts on women and girl’s and how impacts were interconnected. When impacts were found they was usually little further evidence backing them up. The impacts that were found to included the loss of cultural and spiritual knowledge, a decline in health, reduced access to education, a decline income, higher domestic work burden, heighted exposure to gender based violence, and, adverse impacts on subjective wellbeing. In the policy review we found that international and national policy development were not sufficiently addressing women and girls’ priorities due to a complex set of factors including lack of political will amongst multiple stakeholders and inadequate sex disaggregated data, and implementation was being hampered by lack of funding and knowledge. Further fundamental issues included patriarchal social systems and persistent and pervasive norms about gender. We will end the talk by sharing some recommendations on the steps that policy makers and researchers can take to improve the evidence base and put in place action to reduce inequalities.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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