SDG 13 - Climate Action

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more likely for women than men to be killed in climate-fuelled disasters.


of climate finance projects tackled 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 as we saw for SDGs 6 and 7, takes time and puts 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 inequalities. Research 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
Plan International / Katrijn Van Giel

Click on a box to learn about the goal’s related issues, indicators and its relevance to gender equality.

Key findings from the SDG Gender Index

  • Persons missing due to disaster:

    India scores the lowest of the six countries on the climate change goal, driven largely by the massive share of its people affected by disasters in recent years (including massive droughts in 2015 and 2016). The number of deaths, missing persons and persons affected by disaster (per 1,000 population) in India was 9.46 in 2017, compared to .07 in Senegal.

  • UNFCCC delegation:

    Women’s participation at the UN climate negotiations has improved, but women remain under-represented in all delegations. India had the least gender-balanced delegation representing the country at the UNFCCC in 2012, and Colombia had the most gender-balanced delegation.

Gender Equality Issues Without Sufficient Global Data

Here we highlight the ‘missing’ critical gender equality issues that we weren’t able to include in the Index due to insufficient globally comparable data. These ‘missing’ issues can help form part of an advocacy agenda calling for more and better gender data, contributing to existing calls for gaps in gender data to be filled.

Impact of slow onset crises on women compared to men, specifically in relation to male migration related to climate change without female family members.

Impact on women, compared to men, of challenges/decrease in agricultural production related to climate change.

Women’s inclusion in national decision-making on climate policies.


Equal Measures 2030 Partners