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Dickinson to Durban » Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Environmental Politics, Featured, Key COP17 Issues, Mosaic Action, Student Research » Women and Gender Constituencies at COP17

Women and Gender Constituencies at COP17

By Claire Tighe ‘13

As a young person acting more as a RINGO (Research Institution Non-Governmental Organization) here at COP17, it’s been sort of difficult to find a place amongst all the chaos. We’re not quite YOUNGO (Youth-NGO), not quite RINGO, not Masters or Law students (we’re undergrads!). As a feminist and Women’s and Gender Studies major, one of the ways I’ve been able to find a “home” here at the COP is by attending the Women’s and Gender Caucus meetings first thing each morning. Here, official delegates and NGOs, such as WEDO, Oxfam, GenderCC, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and the Sierra Club meet to talk about the previous day’s negotiations with a focus on women and gender. This group has also split into working groups, which specifically discuss the big issues of COP with more depth. Some of the working groups include REDD(+), Adaptation, Mitigation, and my personal favorite: a feminist perspective on making the negotiations work to the advantage of women, children, families, people with disabilities, and anyone in the world with less privilege. Pretty exciting stuff.

GenderCC does a stunt before COP15

It’s most amazing working with women from all over the world, some native English speakers, others not. There are women from every continent! Yesterday’s meeting began with a song in a language I do not understand, with lyrics that went something like this, “This world belongs to women. We will be strong.” Much like Dani’s post on the excitement that the YOUNGOs have during their meetings, I cannot find anything more uplifting than joining in song with other women here at the COP. Today, GenderCC put out a document addressing all of their demands for outcomes of COP17. Many of them are similar to other highly vulnerable groups, like AOSIS. They include: access to funding; good governance, transparency and access to information; education and capacity building; access to productive land and other resources; and participation and inclusion in policy and process. I’ve written a bit on this last subject here. This last demand is my favorite. The following bullet points are their specific demands for the outcome of inclusionary decision making:

• There should be qualitative and quantitative representation of women and other marginalised groups (grassroots, technical, elite) at climate change negotiations.

• Grassroots women of different constituencies must be consulted in climate change discourses before statements and other positions are finalised.

• Indigenous languages should be used to communicate policies and pictures should be used for those who cannot read and write.

• Oppressive processes and laws must be reviewed and reformed.

Stay tuned for more info about the intersection of women and gender here at COP! This afternoon we’ve got a briefing session with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC, to discuss the negotiations from a gendered perspective! Hopefully I’ll be able to post some video footage of that soon!

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2 Responses to "Women and Gender Constituencies at COP17"

  1. Sarah Brylinsky says:

    I love that women are bringing the issue of communications accessibility to the forefront of the COP proceedings by asking that information be shared in visual, not always written/linguistic, forms for those who cannot read. It’s important for the international governing committees and national policy bodies to recognize the simple fact of high illiteracy rates still rampant globally, and consider the notion that a human being has the right to the facts and understanding necessary for their participation in a democratic and participatory political process regardless of their education level, or reading ability.

    1. Claire says:

      It’s also been so great to see that in meetings, participants are very conscious of the speed at which they speak, cautiously anunciating, and making sure that all can understand what they are saying!

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