Strengthening women’s leadership for climate action

IIED and EnGen Collaborative are working with the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to enhance women’s climate leadership in state and non-state policymaking and implementation at local and national levels to improve the impact of CIF investments.

February 2022 - November 2022
Karen Wong Pérez

Senior researcher (strengthening partnerships team), Climate Change research group

Women with their backs to the camera bind together bamboo panels and lean them against a wall

Direct finance to Indigenous Peoples and local community groups under the Forest Investment Program empowers local women (PDF) to take the lead. The Association of Boromo Widows in Solidarity, in Burkina Faso, is an agricultural cooperative (PDF) where women share two-thirds of their income according to the time spent working in the cooperative and reinvest one third back into the cooperative (Photo: copyright Climate Investment Funds)

This project seeks to strengthen women’s climate leadership and will help ensure that Climate Investment Funds (CIF) implementation is increasing the agency of women in climate governance and green growth markets.  

The Climate Investment Funds’ Gender Action Plan highlights the importance of considering the linkages between gender and climate and their intersection with other forms of social exclusion to promote just and sustainable low-carbon development.  

To make these linkages and promote women’s climate leadership, we will work with diverse stakeholders in women’s rights, the private sector, research and climate policy and finance spaces, including women’s and gender-related organisations. We will identify the barriers and opportunities as well as options that can shape solutions to increase women’s agency in climate governance and green growth markets. 

Through our emphasis on engaging a diverse group of stakeholders from different backgrounds and sectors, we hope to capture the multiple and different axes for marginalisation and oppression that interact to shape human experience and people’s ability to adapt to the climate crisis and engage in climate decision-making and climate governance.  

In doing so, we can identify ways to promote systematic change that enables women’s participation in institutional processes and creates enabling conditions for gender equality. 

We cannot rely on gender outcomes at only an individual level. Rather, it is important to emphasise systemic change to enable women’s participation in institutional processes and enabling conditions for gender equality. 

Institutional change can take place in formal and informal settings, through changes in norms and governance, systemic shifts through formal participation in public planning and budgeting, and shifts in labour markets, employment entry requirements, credit markets, and/or policy measures. 

What is IIED doing? 

IIED and EnGen Collaborative will facilitate participatory multi-stakeholder dialogues to co-produce a conceptual framework to identify barriers and opportunities for enhancing women’s climate leadership in the context of CIF-funded projects.  

Focusing on both public and private sectors at institutional, national and local levels, our process builds on scholarly work and applied practices on human agency (PDF) and women’s empowerment that look at informal barriers and opportunities that affect women’s individual and collective agency to engage in leadership.  

By generating and sharing knowledge and developing institutional capacity, this will support efforts toward systematic, sector-wide learning about and application of gender transformational change and climate justice.  

Using evidence collected through the conceptual framework, a literature review and stakeholder engagement in workshops, surveys, interviews, and Talanoa-style dialogues, we will assess the enablers of and barriers to women’s climate leadership.  

Through our methodology we will also identify promising practices from regions and sectors, lessons learned, and pathways of opportunity with actionable, sector and context-specific recommendations for CIF-funded projects.  

Ongoing stakeholder engagement and knowledge sharing 

We will create opportunities for ongoing engagement with diverse regional, national and local-level stakeholders to inform the process, co-produce the framework, learn and share good practices, build awareness and knowledge on opportunities while advocating for enhancing women’s climate leadership in the CIF.  

This includes creating spaces to exchange systemic and sectoral learning and highlighting the experiences of women climate leaders.  We will share findings and recommendations with CIF stakeholders across sectors, including coal transitions, energy, water, agriculture and forestry, adaptive social protection, sustainable transport, resilient cities and nature-based solutions.