Gender Equality: A Cornerstone for a Green Economy
Without the advancement of gender equality, realising the vision of a green economy is inconceivable. There can be no meaningful sustainable development. Effective action is required to ensure that gender inequalities of the traditional economy are not transferred to the new green economy. Gender equality should be viewed as a cornerstone for a successful transition to a green economy.
Given that men and women have different specialised perspectives, experiences and knowledge that is beneficial to policy and decision making, they should be given the opportunity and support to equally participate in the greening of economies to achieve sustainable development. Instead of being marginalised, women should rather be seen as active agents of change, with different capacities to respond to environmental and developmental challenges.
They are part of the solution and paramount to finding and building pathways that are more socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable.
Effectively addressing gender equality in the context of the green economy may have several positive development outcomes, including better management of natural resources and more inclusive community development. As an essential first step of mainstreaming gender into gender responsive green initiatives, systematic gender analysis should be encouraged at national level to inform policies, decisions, strategies and action plans.
Much work remains to be done to achieve gender equality. However, given that the foundation has already been laid in the form of commitments, treaties and frameworks, it is the duty of the state and its citizens to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality in a new green economy. With the renewed commitment to gender equality expressed in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, policymakers cannot ignore the gendered dimensions of development.
Agenda 2030 should set a foundation for more comprehensive gender-responsive interventions in the green economy. This will require the social and political will to challenge discriminatory social norms and traditions that make it difficult to achieve gender equality in the greening of economies. It means a change in attitudes, behaviours and practices at government and community level. Such change can be difficult, and governments therefore need to establish a strong foundation to enable acceptance and responsibility for gender equality outcomes in greening economies.
Capacity building and creating awareness on the importance and benefits of achieving gender equality is a good starting point to establishing a strong foundation for attitude and behavioural change. It is the responsibility of both men and women to work together as partners to promote gender equality. As states transition to a green economy, it is important that they seriously consider how gender equality will be advanced.
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