Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Since CoP 17 that was held on South Africa in 2012, our office continues to provide capacity development for rural women and has provided the platform for them to be able to engage in key national, regional and international climate change negotiations. Initiatives through the Small Grants Programme (SGP) have also managed to promote gender mainstreaming and development of green enterprises with the involvement of women. Our support has been recognised by the Government of South Africa, as different Departments have approached us for support in mainstreaming gender in programmes for 2012/2013 regarding climate change, sustainable development and access to energy.
Our Goal and Support
The purpose of the UNDP gender equality and women’s empowerment programme is to support the Government of South Africa and Civil Society organisations in achieving gender equality and promoting women's empowerment in the economic and social spheres. UNDP focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment not only as human rights issues, but also because they are a pathway to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development.
Currently, the programme has two focus areas: women economic empowerment and plugging the gap between policy and implementation. In collaboration with New Faces New Voices and the departments of Trade and Industry and Economic Development, our office is currently carrying out a study on inclusive financing for women owned enterprises. This study is envisaged to identify barriers and bottlenecks that hinder women owned small micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) from accessing finances and come up with key recommendations for removing the barriers and bottlenecks; expanding women’s access to financial services and investing differently in women. New Faces New Voices is a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Johannesburg, South Africa, established under the Graҫa Machel Trust, whose main objective is increasing women’s access to finance and financial service.
We have collaborated with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) during the August with is “Women’s Month” in South Africa, to host a National Consultation on Rural Women and Climate Change . This consultation was attended by over 400 rural women from across the country and was the precursor to the Continental Rural Women’s Meeting on Gender and Climate Change which was held. UNDP, UN Women, the Heinrich Boll Foundation and the Government of Norway provided technical and financial support to DIRCO to host this meeting, which was attended by over 100 women from across Africa and resulted in a continental women’s statement on Gender and Climate Change.
Furthermore, we worked closely with the National Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (DWCPD) and the Heinrich Boll Foundation to support the SADC Meeting of Ministers of Women and Gender Affairs on Climate Change. This resulted in the development of a statement on the importance of gender-responsive regional policies and practices in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Our office also worked with Parliament to support the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in raising awareness and capacity among women in the legislature on the importance of gender-responsive policies when addressing the impacts of climate change.