Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Gender and Urban Climate Policy: Gender-Sensitive Policies Make a Difference

Gotelind Alber

GIZ, UN-Habitat and GenderCC



This handbook offers general principles, brief examples and sample checklists, rather than an exhaustive examination of the cross-mainstreaming of climate change and gender. It lays out the rationale for incorporating gender awareness into climate adaptation and mitigation, focusing on the links between power and gender, between gender and poverty, and between poverty and climate risk. For instance (pages 16 –17),

“the role of women as family or professional carers during disaster is often invisible, while men’s actions in rescue operations and emergency services tends to be more visible and recognised within the community. In some areas, social norms impede women’s access to early warning systems on extreme weather events and to emergency or post-disaster services during and after disasters. For instance, shelters can be less accessible to women due to mobility constraints and child care responsibilities. Moreover, shelters are often not suited to accommodate women in terms of their hygienic and safety requirements.”

Gender and Urban Climate Policy provides many other examples of gendered preferences and patterns that could be incorporated into climate planning. For example – and while recognizing the vast diversity among them – women are more likely than men to prefer low-risk technologies, tend to have lower carbon footprints partly as a result of their lower economic and social power, and have higher death tolls during natural disasters.

The publication also provides some simple rubrics for approaching gender-sensitive analysis. One involves four steps toward more gender-equal, low-carbon policymaking:

1) Improve the gender balance in positions of power.
2) Ensure genuine community participation in climate policy.
3) Conduct gender impact assessments.
4) Institute gender budgeting.

This is only a starting point. It will be up to local communities and policymakers to contextualize these general principles to make them suitable for application.


Available from:



Further reading:

Jabeen, Huraera (2019), “Gendered space and climate resilience in informal settlements in Khulna City, Bangladesh”, Environment and Urbanization Vol 31, No 1, pages 115–138, available at

Schofield, Daniela and Femke Gubbels (2019), “Informing notions of climate change adaptation: a case study of everyday gendered realities of climate change adaptation in an informal settlement in Dar es Salaam”, Environment and Urbanization Vol 31, No 1, pages 93–114, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956247819830074

UN-Habitat (2012), Gender and Urban Planning: Issues and Trends, available at https://mirror.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=335....

Search the Book notes database

Our Book notes database contains details and summaries of all the publications included in Book notes since 1993 - with details on how to obtain/download.

Use the search form above, or visit the Book notes landing page for more options and latest content.

For a searchable database for papers in Environment and Urbanization, go to http://eau.sagepub.com/