Feminist Geographies of Climate Change: Negotiating Gender at Climate Talks


Gay-Antaki, Miriam. 2020. "Feminist Geographies of Climate Change: Negotiating Gender at Climate Talks." Geoforum 115: 1-10.

Author: Miriam Gay-Antaki


Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time and will have differential impacts across different geographies and social strata. The Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the most important international meeting surrounding climate change. The 2015 Paris climate talks reflected the global preoccupation around climate change, in that it was the first time 150 Heads of State ever gathered to discuss an issue. For geographers, the COPs are important sites to study because decisions around our environmental commons can perpetuate or contest socio-environmental narratives responsible for social and environmental inequalities. Increasingly, gender is being introduced into the climate debate in sites such as the COPs. Using qualitative methods, this paper delineates the mechanisms by which some meanings of gender like gender balance dominate over others like gender equality. My research illustrates how discourses of gender and climate change arise, are perpetuated, and materialized through climate policy. I use an intersectional lens to underscore the practices that perpetuate injustices, and explore the discourses that are the most popular at the COPs around gender and climate change, who perpetuates them, which narratives are mobilized, and which become invisible. I highlight how material practices at the COPs that construct polarized divisions of gender are accompanied by polarized divisions of space. Feminist geographies of climate change can challenge the global conversation about gender and climate change to form new coalitions and techniques to find just and equitable outcomes in the face of climate change.

Keywords: climate negotiations, gender balance, gender equality, strategic essentialism, intersectionality

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Intersectionality

Year: 2020

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