Gender and climate change in developed countries

COP 17 Youth delegatesWhile the relationship between gender and climate change is more clearly defined in developing countries, women in developed countries play an important role in gender in climate change as well.

In developed countries, such as the United States and Canada, many women and mothers assume the role of informal educators in their families. In many families, women are the ones who do the grocery shopping and buy household cleaning products, and they have the option to choose eco-friendly products or organic, locally-grown and sustainable food. Buying sustainable food, especially locally-grown food, contributes to alleviating the effects of climate change, as produce from a local farm does not have to be transported as far as imported food (or food from across the country in large countries like the United States), reducing the amount of emissions produced by food trucks.

As mothers, many women can instill environmentally-friendly habits in their children, such as turning off the tap while brushing their teeth or turning off the lights. While men assume these roles as well, in many developed countries women are still looked to for informal education and advice. Informal education differs from non-formal education in that it does not use a curriculum to educate children.

Women are also powerful and persuasive in convincing their peers and friends – in Scouts or Guides, at school, or in other institutions – and can be effective in motivating their peers to take action on environmental issues.

Elaine Murphy, COP 17 delegate from the United States of America