SUMMARY: This policy brief makes the case for a gender just transition in South Africa. It does so by: a) explaining why a gender just transition is vital by discussing the gendered impact of climate change; b) locating South African women within the broader society and within the economy; and c) providing a brief idea of what a gender just transition would look like.
KEY FINDING / RECOMMENDATIONS: Adapting to, or mitigating, climate change impacts and impacts from related policy responses requires resources that are largely gained through participation in formal employment and access to wealth. Women are under-represented in the paid labour force and overrepresented in unpaid care work. This leaves them without the necessary resources for survival. The transition to a green economy thus requires taking active measures to include women in the paid economy, as well as recognising the value of the unpaid care work they perform. The state needs to play a driving role in the just transition. This means addressing structural inequities in the way public funding is provided to organisations. These funds can also be used as an incentive for organisations to train and hire women. Beyond that, the transition must be accompanied by structural changes in the gender-segmentation of sectors, with quotas used when necessary to correct imbalances that serve to entrench inequality. The success of a gender just transition depends on the state, business, labour, communities and other stakeholders being included in the policy discussions on equal footing. If the conversation is controlled by those with power, existing inequalities will be made worse.