Susan BuckinghamOn FEB 5, Professor Susan Buckingham presented her work on gender and climate change.

Susan Buckingham is a feminist geographer whose main focus is on gender and environmental issues. Her teaching, research, and activist work are interlinked through a commitment to environmental and social justice. She has worked with academic and government institutions, as well as NGOs in Europe, the USA, Pakistan, and internationally.

Drawing on her expertise in gender and environmental issues, she convenes the working group on Gender, Energy & Climate Change for the European Union COST initiative, running from 2012 – 2016. This Targeted Network aims to advance the state of the art in knowledge and policy implementation on gender, science, technology and engineering through creating a network of policy-makers and experts on these disciplines.

 

To hear Susan’s talk please click here.

‘Sex and the City: Why planning for climate change needs is a gender issue’

 

Abstract: The UN has made a commitment to addressing gender equality and environmental sustainability in an integrated way. Nevertheless, in practice, city planning departments have not done so. Despite hopeful initiatives in the 1980s, gender has, in many places, disappeared from urban planning and a shift of emphasis from sustainable development to climate change has identified a different range of stakeholders, dominated by technology and business.

I will argue that dalliances with gender equality in different places and at different times have failed to materialise into a coherent practice of a gender just environmentally sustainable planning practice in cities.  City climate change initiatives pay little or no attention to gender. Indeed, by privileging professions in which gender inequality is deeply embedded, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are more likely to reinforce current gender inequalities (Buckingham, 2010).

The paper will further argue that existing evidence from the gender mainstreaming literature and policies and the gender and environment literature, is sufficient to justify centrally positioning gender equality in planning sustainable cities. The implications of this for policy making is the challenge to include stakeholders and decision makers who represent different men and women.As Candice Stevens has stated for the OECD, the ‘abysmally slow’ progress on sustainable development might be linked to ‘sluggish’ advances in achieving gender equality. If an holistic urban planning can be persuaded to be more inclusive and ‘gender just’ then it is possible that climate change mitigation and adaptation targets will have a better chance of being achieved.

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