Gender and the Environment

Building Evidence and Policies to Achieve the SDGs

Gender equality and environmental goals are mutually reinforcing, with slow progress on environmental actions affecting the achievement of gender equality, and vice versa. Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires targeted and coherent actions. However, complementarities and trade-offs between gender equality and environmental sustainability are scarcely documented within the SDG framework. Based on the SDG framework, this report provides an overview of the gender-environment nexus, looking into data and evidence gaps, economic and well-being benefits, and governance and justice aspects. It examines nine environment-related SDGs (2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15) through a gender-environment lens, using available data, case studies, surveys and other evidence. It shows that women around the world are disproportionately affected by climate change, deforestation, land degradation, desertification, growing water scarcity and inadequate sanitation, with gender inequalities further exacerbated by COVID-19. The report concludes that gender-responsiveness in areas such as land, water, energy and transport management, amongst others, would allow for more sustainable and inclusive economic development, and increased well-being for all. Recognising the multiple dimensions of and interactions between gender equality and the environment, it proposes an integrated policy framework, taking into account both inclusive growth and environmental considerations at local, national and international levels.

Published on May 21, 2021Also available in: French


Acronyms and Abbreviations
Executive Summary
Gender equality and sustainable development
Recent progress in mapping the gender-environment nexus
Economic and well-being benefits of better integrating gender equality and environmental goals
Women and the Environmental Action Movement
Towards a joint gender and environment agenda
Women and SDG 2 – Promoting sustainable agriculture
Women and SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Women and SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Women and SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Women and SDG 11 – sustainable cities and communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Women and SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Women and SDG13 – Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Women and SDG14 – Life under water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Women and SDG 15 – Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicators: mapping the gender-environment nexus
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