New C40 research finds that efforts to tackle climate change in cities will only succeed if it is inclusive and benefits men and women equally.

Mayors urged to invest in mentoring programmes to strengthen female leadership in climate action, collect gender-disaggregated data and conduct women’s safety audits.

Paris, France (19 February 2019) — Mayors, city officials and urban planners could be doing much more to benefit 50% of their populations, by ensuring action on climate change delivers equal benefits for women and men within the world’s cities. New research released today from C40 Cities warns that climate solutions tend to ignore gender-specific issues, perpetuating a general bias of infrastructure and services designed predominantly for men. The report, Women4Climate: Gender-inclusive climate action in cities, was published ahead of the third annual Women4Climate Conference, taking place at Paris City Hall on February 21st. 

The specific examples detailed in the research includes a focus on public transport. Bus and metro networks tend to prioritise routes that bring commuters from suburbs into the city centre. These routes are assumed to offer the greatest economic benefit to the city, and they are statistically more likely to be used by men. Yet the majority of journeys on public transport in cities are made by women, taking shorter trips, with multiple stops and outside commuter hours. As the research warns, city planners looking to develop low carbon and sustainable transport options “would benefit by taking their main customers into consideration.”

To achieve gender-inclusive climate action, C40 proposes, “we need more women in leadership positions, bringing their perspectives and experiences into the decision-making processes, and more gender expertise to better understand the differentiated gendered needs within cities.” Mayors are urged to invest in mentoring programmes to strengthen female leadership in climate action, such as those underway as part of the C40 Women4Climate Initiative, collect gender-disaggregated data and conduct women’s safety audits.

Supported by L’Oréal, founding partner of the Women4Climate initiative, and the Michelin Foundation, and carried out in partnership with University College London, the research also features a series of case studies, from leading cities, that have successfully implemented policies that deliver inclusive climate action and benefit all citizens. From Barcelona’s Plan for Gender Justice, to San Francisco’s investment in collecting gender and race disaggregated data on who uses its cycling infrastructure, there are inspiring projects for other cities to learn from. Case studies from Paris and London also showcase the steps that cities have taken to increase women’s leadership respectively in the climate grassroots movements and in the cleantech sector.

“I am delighted to welcome this new research report, a product of the C40 Women4Climate Initiative,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities. “The findings and recommendations provide invaluable insights to how the effects of climate change, and the responses of climate action are experienced by women in cities. Only by understanding the gendered nature of climate change, policies and programmes, can we deliver action that will benefit all citizens equally. With concrete examples from pioneering cities around the world, the evidence is clear that this important work is already well underway.”

“At L’Oréal we decided to be a founding partner of the Women4Climate global initiative to contribute to the empowerment of the next generation of women leaders in fighting climate change. As a global beauty company, we have a unique perspective on how climate change affects women – from those who produce our raw materials to those who consume our products. Women will play a critical role in tackling climate change. Women will play a critical role in tackling climate change. It is our responsibility to empower and support them”, Alexandra Palt, L’Oréal’s Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer and Executive Vice-President of the Fondation L’Oréal.

“We are thrilled to have helped evolve the debate on gender-inclusive climate action in urban policy agendas by combining both social and technical expertise” said Dr. Ellie Cosgrave and Tiffany Lam at the UCL City Leadership Lab, who led this research. “As part of the research process, we have connected with progressive and inspiring women in cities worldwide who are developing innovative approaches to ensure that climate solutions are designed with a gender perspective in mind. We hope that this report will equip city leaders and citizens with the appropriate knowledge and tools to prioritise and drive inclusive climate action.”

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