Nature Climate Change, Gender Equality and Human Rights

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Sun Dec 5 2021

Author: Guest contributor

At Springer Nature, we remain committed to challenging oppression, celebrating advances in gender equality, and recognizing the challenges that remain. To mark Human Rights Day we have spoken to some of our editors and authors about the intersection of gender equality and human rights. In this interview we speak with Alyssa Findlay, Editor of Nature Climate Change.

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Please tell us about some of the content in your journal addressing issues of gender equality and the intersection with human rights.

Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, but empowering women can have positive environmental and climate benefits. For example, in 2019 we published research showing that increasing the number of women in interventions aimed to reduce emissions made the interventions more effective. More recently, we published a Comment that outlined how protecting human and women’s rights would also benefit climate change mitigation. Another example is a Review article discussing how assumptions about gender undermine gender equality in climate policy. 

How can your journal address gender equality?

We aim to address gender equality from different perspectives, both through our content, such as inviting a Comment focused on gender, as well as through our practices, such as paying attention to diversity (including gender) when inviting reviewers to peer review a research paper or inviting an opinion piece. 

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy makers? How can/does your journal engage with and facilitate this dialogue?

I think researchers and policymakers often have different needs that correspond to the unique pressures of their jobs, making effective communication difficult. At the journal, we try to mediate this conversation, for example by inviting Policy Briefs (summaries of the main policy-relevant findings of selected papers), or commissioning opinion pieces that try to bridge this gap.  

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?

Research happens in a wider social context, so I think it’s very important for researchers to think about the impact of their work. This impact includes not only the potential societal implications of the research results, but also how the work is done and which groups it engages. One example would be how diverse the research team is and whether the work engages local communities. 

What progress would you like to see next towards the advancement of gender equality, worldwide and locally?

Ultimately I would like to see both women and men able to live in the manner of their choosing without being pushed into gendered roles or having their possibilities restricted on the basis of gender. As a more concrete step, I would like to see women’s access to education and healthcare – particularly reproductive healthcare - bolstered across the world.

How can progress on gender equality translate to progress on other human rights?

Gender equity is intimately linked to other human rights issues; I don’t think they can truly be separated. Gender inequalities are often at the root of broader patterns such as disparities in health, income and safety, and so increasing gender equality will lead to progress in other areas. 

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About Alyssa Findlay

Alyssa Findlay has been an editor at Nature Climate Change since 2019, handing papers broadly in climate impacts and adaptation. She holds a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Delaware, USA and completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and in the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University, Denmark. 


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