Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Earth Today | Gender and climate change: Subject of new documentary from regional NGO

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
UnaMay Gordon
Judith Wedderburn
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IN CELEBRATION of 'Gender Day' at the international climate talks in Poland, regional communication non-governmental organisation (NGO) Panos Caribbean on Tuesday released a documentary highlighting the gender dimensions of climate change and the role of women in resilience-building.

Directed and produced by Jamaican Esther Figueroa, the documentary features four leading Caribbean professionals and activists, who share their views and experiences.

They include Grenada's former Ambassador Dessima Williams, who chaired the Alliance of Small Island States between 2009 and 2011, and who has said that "women, when they emerge as decision-makers, make a marked, step-change contribution to decisions that affect people".

"Women need to be empowered," said Dizzanne Billy, member and former president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, adding that "the means of production are not equally available to women as they are to men," such that women have to bear the consequences of climate change without having the opportunity to shape the measures to combat it.

"If women's concerns, their gender concerns, are not properly and adequately addressed, what we are looking at is inter-generational poverty," said Judith Wedderburn, Jamaican gender and development practitioner, "and if a woman is a single-income earner, when there is a period of extreme weather, the small resources that she does have, has to work magic to continue to take care of the family".

"When you are making policy, you must ensure that a gender lens is placed on these policies so that the needs, perspectives, experiences and knowledge of all people impacted by climate change are properly and equally considered," noted UnaMay Gordon, who heads the Climate Change Division of Jamaica.

According to Williams: "We, women of the world, have a right to be at the table and we are emerging more and more at the table."

Gender Day at the climate talks being held in Katowice, Poland, is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of gender-responsive climate policy and action, as well as highlighting women's leadership in climate decision-making and action.

"This new video by Panos Caribbean showcases the leadership role that Caribbean women play, and will continue to play, in the most urgent fight against climate change, and for the social, political, financial and environmental responses that are needed for change now," Panos said in a release to the media.

"With this video, Panos Caribbean hopes to contribute to the growing realisation the world over, that climate change is a gender issue, a social justice issue," it added.