Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are occurring at an alarming rate. Since 1970, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have dropped by 68%.1
Although environmental degradation impacts everyone, evidence suggests that women bear an unequal burden from its impacts.2 For example, in regions where women are responsible for gathering firewood, local forest loss forces women to walk farther each day searching for wood.3 Similarly, women in Southern Africa must walk farther to fetch water when local water-supplying ecosystems dry up.4 Biodiversity loss affects the lives and livelihoods of women and girls through multiple dimensions and impact pathways.
The goal of this report is to gain a deeper understanding of the gendered impacts of environmental degradation in specific ecosystems, and as possible, the pathways and contributions that inclusively and sustainably managed ecosystems can make to gender equality.
This CARE-WWF-branded report will seek to answer the question: what is the cost of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss on gender equality and how can stakeholders work together to address this issue? The CARE-WWF Alliance and consultants will work together to develop a methodology based on data availability and the consultants’ skillsets to answer this question. Potential methodologies being considered include a systematic literature review, quantitative analysis of datasets, a landscape review of organizations working in this space to identify trends and case studies, expert interviews about what they see as their top challenges and opportunities for making what they are doing more meaningful, impactful and sustainable, and community-based research using qualitative methodologies like key informant interviews or focus groups. The report will select and focus on four to five key geographies and landscapes (i.e. highlands, watersheds, forests, drylands, cities, oceans, etc.) – at least one of which will be in each of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Investigation will consider intersectional vulnerability but will focus specifically on the gender-based impacts. This research will be broken into two segments: Phase 1 will be completed by October 2021 to release in parallel with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and include a potential side event to present the results of this report. Phase 2 will incorporate feedback and insights from the CBD, and the longer timeline will allow for potential methodologies that are more time-intensive, like community-based research. The consultant and the CARE-WWF Alliance will strategize how to break this scope into these segments so that Phase 1 will be both meaningful and realistic to complete by October.
In addition, it will understand how environmental degradation and biodiversity loss interact with the structural forces that drive gender inequality. These impacts will be assessed based off their effect on the agency of women and girls and the formal and informal relations and structures that influence gender justice. This includes the impact of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss on men and boys, and their roles in the process of supporting women’s and girls’ empowerment in their households and communities.
Some of these specific research areas could include the intersections of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss with access to resources and capital, gender-based violence, decision-making and political participation and social capital, indigenous knowledge, agency, household division of labor, and sexual and reproductive health.
The research will provide a series of recommendations that will help inform how policymakers, private sector entities, nonprofits, civil-society organizations, and communities can mainstream gender and integrate women’s empowerment into conservation and natural resource management policy and programming that drive both women’s rights/equality and ecosystem services/biodiversity conservation outcomes.
Interested candidates should submit proposals to Taryn Skinner (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 21, 2021 with the subject line “Environmental Degradation and Gender study.”
Proposals must include proposed methodology, detailed description of deliverables, budget, and CVs and description of relevant expertise for those who will undertake the work as well as their assigned roles and responsibilities in this consultancy. Proposals should not exceed 6 pages in length, excluding CVs.