11 juni 2020

Flicka som står med en skylt där det står

Part 1: Who takes the fight for the climate?

#feminist policies for climate justice

Nationalism and anti-feminism is on the rise and climate scepticism is still persistent despite increased global awareness about climate change in the last few years. The common ground of these movements is the will to maintain the status quo of existing economic and social structures and norms that are felt to be under threat. This push back on progress is a serious barrier for global climate efforts that require structural changes.

This in an extract from Part 1 of the publication “Feminist policies for climate justice”. The extract includes summaries and recommendations of the two chapters in Part 1.

Another important and interlinked obstacle to reaching climate justice are the discriminatory and patriarchal structures that exclude women and girls from climate change decision-making, and adaptation and mitigation efforts. Swedish policymakers, as well as private and civil society actors, all need to confront and challenge the actors, structures and destructive norms that are holding back change. Efforts at all levels are needed to be made so that women and girls have opportunities and resources to enhance their vital role in contributing to solutions of climate change and gender equality. More boys and men also need to become part of the solutions.


In the last couple of years, we have seen an encouraging upsurge of climate activism around the world calling for the climate crisis to be taken seriously, and for climate justice. However, this push is challenged by the far-right nationalist, anti-feminist, and climate denial movements taking up public and political space. They are not only threatening an inclusive and equal society where women’s and girls’ rights are secured, but also hinder the structural changes required to tackle the climate crisis. Other voices in the climate debate – those who defend human rights, justice and gender equality – need to be given space and must be supported by policies.


  • The Swedish government should apply a gender perspective to key Swedish climate policy positions and advocate for a gender perspective to be integrated into global climate processes, not least in the revision of the EU’s commitments to the Paris Agreement leading up to COP26.
  • The Swedish government must make sure that its feminist foreign policy includes a stronger focus on the climate crisis. This should be achieved by including a separate goal in its future annual action plans, starting in 2021. Such a goal should address the climate crisis through attention to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in specific climate actions, as well as through concrete measures for the promotion of gender and climate justice.
  • Sweden must ensure that there is sufficient support for organisations and networks that promote women’s and girls’ rights, gender equality and climate justice in the context of climate change. Sweden should also continue to play a leading role in the support of organisations and networks that transform destructive norms of masculinity, engaging more boys and men for gender equality and climate justice.
  • In all dialogue on climate, Sweden should take the lead in steering the SRHR and climate change discussion in a human rights-based direction. Sweden should make clear that SRHR, including access to contraceptives and family planning, are to be promoted in their own right, and that women’s and girls’ bodies must never be seen as instruments to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

Organisations that have contributed to this text

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, MÄN Plan International Sweden, PRO Global/Pensioners without Borders and The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU).


Scarcity of natural resources as an effect of the climate crisis together with a continued increase in demand for those very same resources including oil, minerals, arable land and timber for production, have forced people, including women and girls, to stand up and defend their land and their rights. In doing so, they often face fierce opposition and violence. At the same time, young people across the globe, and girls in particular, are taking to the streets to defend environmental human rights. When challenging inequalities and injustice, women and girl environmental human rights defenders are exposed to gender-specific violence and threats. The linkages between the shrinking civic space, gender equality and the environment and climate justice need to be further strengthened and adhered to in Swedish foreign policy frameworks.


  • To protect indigenous women and girl human rights defenders and legitimise their struggle, the Swedish government should ratify the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (ILO Convention 169).
  • The Swedish government should appoint a commission of inquiry to explore a binding law regarding the responsibility of private companies in Sweden to respect human rights throughout their production and supply chains, both in Sweden and abroad.
  • Sweden should engage in bilateral dialogues, build alliances with progressive states and cooperate with the UN special rapporteurs to draw attention to women and girl environmental human rights defenders and the trend of a shrinking civic space.
  • Sweden should play a key role in advancing the international legal framework for the promotion and protection of women and girl environmental human rights defenders, including binding provisions to increase their legal protection, building upon existing frameworks such as the Human Rights Council’s resolution 40/11, the Escazú Agreement for Latin America and the Caribbean and the process of developing a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • The Swedish government should pay more attention to linkages between gender equality, the environment and the civic space in its feminist foreign policy by including concrete measures in its future action plans. These linkages should also be addressed in Sweden’s development policy and development cooperation.

Organisations that have contributed to this text

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Sweden, the Swedish Sociaty for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Rädda Barnen and We Effect.