SDG 13: Climate



global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 13


of climate finance projects tackles both climate change and gender inequalities


of leadership positions on national energy committees in 2015 were held by men

Why SDG 13 matters for gender equality

Women are vulnerable to climate change because they are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to die in a climate-fuelled disaster than men, and more likely to be displaced. They grow much of the world’s food, but often on the most degraded land. And climate change forces them to walk further to gather firewood and water, which takes time and can put them in danger.

Women’s equal access to agricultural resources could support SDG 2 on reducing hunger. It has been estimated that tackling gender inequalities in Malawi, for example, could increase crop yields by 7.3% and boost national GDP by 1.8%. When women have secure land tenure they are more likely to adopt climate-friendly practices. Evidence from the forestry sector reveals that women’s participation in forest management enhances the outcomes.

There are clear synergies between climate change and gender inequality, and as the group most affected by climate change, women need to be heard. Yet climate change responses are often ‘gender blind’, ignoring or even exacerbating existing inequalitiesResearch in Vietnam shows that women’s views are rarely considered in the design of gender-sensitive approaches to projects that aim to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), which are more likely, therefore, to reflect male priorities.

The measurement of progress on SDG 13 needs to assess how climate change affects women and whether climate programmes tackle gender inequality, requiring a shift from readily available data to more ‘difficult-to-measure’ indicators.

Plan International / Katrijn Van Giel, Equal Measures 2030

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 13 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

Indicator 13aThe extent to which a country delegation at the UN climate negotiations is gender balanced (score)
RationaleWomen’s participation at the UN climate negotiations has improved in recent years, but women remain significantly under-represented [16]. Gender-balanced UNFCCC teams is an issue of women’s basic right to representation—but it is also an important way of bringing the lived experiences of women dealing with climate change into formal climate negotiations.

[16] UNFCC, Achieving the goal of gender balance (Geneva: UNFCC, 2017),
Indicator 13bExtent to which a state is committed to disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework)
RationaleCountries’ commitment to implementing and funding disaster risk reduction strategies is critical to mitigating the threats posed by disasters. Due to existing gender inequalities, women and girls are most at risk in the detrimental short-term effects of climate change, such as landslides, floods and hurricanes.
Indicator 13cLevel of climate vulnerability (score)
RationaleWomen and girls are more vulnerable than men and boys to many effects of climate change, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources that are threatened by climate change [17].

[17] UN Women,