11 juni 2020

Kvinna på ett odlingsfält med torra växter

Part 2: How to minimise our global emissions through a feminist climate policy

#feminist policies for climate justice

One of the central goals of the Paris Agreement is to minimise the greenhouse gas emissions in order to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. When we go through this necessary transition into a net zero carbon society that requires us to challenge our unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, it is central to free women and girls from existing power structures.

This in an extract from Part 2 of the publication “Feminist policies for climate justice”. The extract includes summaries and recommendations of the two chapters in Part 2.

In this second part of the report, we have identified two areas that we believe are intrinsic if we are to succeed in moving away from the devastating unsustainable use of natural resources and shape a more gender-equal society, free from the harmful treatment of nature and the exploitation of human beings.


Economic growth measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been the uncontested main way to assess and compare countries’ progress for decades. At a time when a lowering of emissions is urgently required, criticism is directed towards this strict liberal economic model in that its stringent focus on economic growth requires a constant increase in production, which is viewed by some as incompatible with the wellbeing of the planet. Concurrently, initiatives to create alternative ways of reaching and measuring sustainable and inclusive development and wellbeing for all are emerging. Sweden has developed new measures for wellbeing to complement GDP in 2017, but these have had a limited impact on policy development thus far. Swedish policy makers should take the necessary steps from a gender perspective to challenge existing power relations and the purely growth-centred economic model still influencing Swedish climate economic and foreign policies.


  • The Swedish government should take a holistic and more transformative approach to gender equality and climate change by strengthening the economic analyses underlying its feminist foreign policy. This includes applying a critical view of economic growth as the principal way in which to improve conditions and living standards for women and men, girls and boys, and nonbinary people globally. This should be reflected in future action plans for the feminist foreign policy.
  • Sweden should follow the example of New Zealand and revise the domination of the concept of GDP in order to promote qualitative economic progress based on notions of wellbeing that encompass the common good, the welfare of each person, our globe and its natural resources. The welfare indicators that were developed in the 2018 budget should be evaluated and further strengthened so that they not only complement the GDP indicator. In this work, a strong intersectional analysis of power and gender will be needed.
  • Within the EU, Sweden should be pushing for a political agenda centered around wellbeing and sustainable development. This entails challenging the strict economic growth narrative still dominating the European Green Deal and replacing GDP as the main marker for progress.
  • Swedish policy makers must develop a clear strategy on how to open new democratic spaces for the engagement and actions of citizens from all groups in society, including women and girl environmental human rights defenders, for their meaningful participation in decisions on how to tackle the climate crisis, and how to measure wellbeing and sustainability.

Organisations that have contributed to this text

IM Swedish Development Partner and PRO Global/Pensioners without Borders.


A just transition is based on the idea that the major transformation we are undergoing to create low-emission societies should incorporate environmental and social justice. This needs to challenge existing gender inequalities in order to address discriminatory and harmful conditions in the labour market and exclusion from social protection systems. If approached from an intersectional gender perspective, the transition can be an opportunity to challenge gender norms, power dynamics and structural weaknesses, and promote an inclusive just transition. This should be a priority for Sweden’s feminist foreign and climate policies.


  • Sweden should ensure that the European Green Deal, also when just transition is addressed, advances gender equality. This entails using specific measures to increase women’s and girls’ roles in the transition, and in line with its “do no harm” principle, prevent disproportionate negative impacts on women and girls.
  • Sweden should make full use of global initiatives, such as the 2030 Agenda, the Global Deal, the Silesia Declaration and the UN Climate Action for Jobs Initiative, and take leadership in making sure a gender perspective is mainstreamed in this work, and that trade unions and civil society are made strong partners.
  • Sweden should ensure that global climate funds, e.g. the Green Climate Fund, and development assistance, are used to advance gender equality through a just transition, not least via training and education. It should also make full use of its experience in applying Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) as one of the tools to promote transitions.
  • The Swedish government should develop an analysis on how to ensure an inclusive just transition that will feed into the 2023 action plan for the climate policy framework. Attention should be given to girls’ education specifically, and to inclusive, quality, gender transformative education and skills necessary to achieve equality in the workplace in net zero carbon societies.
  • The Swedish government should also include commitments on how Sweden will contribute to an inclusive just transition in its external relations in future annual action plans of its feminist foreign policy.

Organisations that have contributed to this text

Olof Palme International Center, Plan International Sweden and Union to Union.