As temperatures rise, Bhutan becomes increasingly susceptible to a multitude of climate-related threats and disasters with gendered impacts. In light of these challenges, education systems can act as a critical lever for imagining both gender-transformative and climate-informed futures. One key framework toward this is gender-transformative climate literacy (GTCL), which addresses and challenges gender inequalities and stereotypes while equipping youth with climate skills and knowledge. GTCL recognizes that climate change affects different genders differently and seeks to empower individuals to understand these disparities and take action regardless of gender roles.

GTCL is an interdisciplinary approach that sits at the intersection of climate action, gender, and education. It presents an actionable pathway to climate change and gender being embedded within the learning systems of education and skills by recognizing challenges and opportunities to strive toward the desired goal.

Bhutan is poised to move from least-developed country (LDC) status to lower-middle-income country (LMIC) status by the end of 2023 with an ambitious plan to remain carbon neutral from its current carbon negative status. To achieve climate-conscious growth, Bhutan must enable all citizens to participate, notably women and girls. In climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, women’s participation is at 63.2%, and women own 47.3% of land vs. 48% owned by men (4.7% is state owned). Despite this, only 73% of women have access to climate-smart agriculture initiatives and trainings vs. 83% of men. This is coupled with women’s dominant role in unpaid caregiving at 71%, which is 2.5 times more than men. These gender norms put more burden on girls and women to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change, deepening and widening the gender disparities.

As part of my ongoing research, I have identified a set of policy and practice recommendations that can help create an enabling ecosystem for GTCL.

  • Update the country’s education policy to incorporate gender-transformative climate literacy.
  • Create an ecosystem of partners to strengthen the recently launched competency-based curriculum by incorporating gender-transformative literacy strategies.
  • Develop a gender-disaggregated climate literacy database to track and measure impact and refine interventions.

Read the full article about climate literacy by Thinley Choden at Brookings.