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Femme récoltant du thé
Climate and gender are at the heart of the discourses, commitments and strategies of most development actors. How do they reconcile these two themes? This research project made it possible to map and produce a typology of current narratives articulating gender and climate and to produce a detailed critical analysis.

Since the publication of the Brundtland report (1987) presenting the three pillars of sustainable development and until the adoption of the 2030 Agenda (2015), the development community has been increasingly critical of inequalities, be they geographical (North/South), social (rich/poor), demographic (present/future generations) or anthropological (men/women) and environmental. Today, development actors affirm the urgency and legitimacy of a new perspective for development, explicitly associating the reduction of inequalities – particularly gender inequalities (SDG 5) – and the fight against climate change (SDG 13).

Since 2015, multilateral, regional and bilateral development banks, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, the media and the academic world have expressed this desire in their strategies, speeches and interventions (funding, advocacy, research). This is reflected, for example, at AFD level in the Agency’s 100% Social Link and 100% Paris Agreement commitments.

It is therefore interesting to look more closely at how these different actors think and articulate the gender and climate agendas with their own dynamics and specificities, in order to identify the main narratives used.


The objective of the research project was to:

  • Produce a mapping of public policy discourses articulating gender and climate issued by the main national and transnational actors of development assistance: transnational organizations (EU), international (UN agencies), multilateral donors, major national development agencies, transnational NGOs, epistemic communities (such as the IPCC);
  • Mapping by institution and by theme;
  • Carry out a critical analysis of these discourses;
  • Present the cognitive and discursive frameworks and their evolution over the last 10 years;
  • Highlight AFD’s positioning at the intersection of these issues.

OFCE was entrusted with the task of analysing the discourses of different categories of actors on a fairly wide range of documentary productions: 800 documents in French, English and Spanish from 54 structures (including international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multilateral and bilateral agencies and public development banks), have been filtered through 150 keywords and semantic fields associated with the fight against climate change and gender, to better identify them.

To do this, the research team used the Critical Frame Analysis (CFA). The CFA is the most advanced methodology for the analysis of public policy discourses around gender issues and their dissemination. It is based on a cognitive, discursive and sociological analysis of public policy discourses, which highlight the different logics and interpretations of issues such as gender equality, the fight against the effects of climate change or the combination of the two. 


The research project produced:

  • A state of the art presenting the main historical and discursive determinants of the interpretative frameworks used to articulate gender and climate, and a mapping of the main actors (including the reference texts used) on these issues;
  • An analysis of discourses articulating gender equality and climate change;
  • A final report presenting the state of the art, the methodology and the result of the analysis, which incorporates a series of recommendations and other points of attention that can feed the strategic reflections underway at AFD.

Read: When gender and climate go hand in hand, new prospects for development

The work led to the publication “How do international organizations address the articulation between gender and climate?” (May 2021)


At the intersection of gender and climate, eight interpretative frameworks (also called narratives) emerged, each illustrating a different approach to bring them together:

  1. The prism of vulnerabilities as a grid for analysis and response of emergency climate actions;
  2. The smart economy approach as an opportunity to generate the climate agenda;
  3. Tools for gender mainstreaming in the climate change agenda;
  4. Empowering women and girls in a climate adaptation perspective;
  5. Gender mainstreaming for transformative climate action;
  6. The intersectional dimension of inequalities and discrimination in the articulation of gender and climate;
  7. The eco-feminist dimension: women, guardians of Mother Earth;
  8. Decolonizattion of gender and climate action.

These frameworks have been formalised according to their frequency, the categories of actors who use them and their chronology:

  • They can be either already installed over time, or emerging;
  • They are more or less used according to the category of actors and within each category;
  • They reflect more or less ambitious goals for change (adaptive/transformative goals);
  • They are not frozen and present potential for hybridization.

Each narrative highlights its own political, economic or social priorities and preferences, and even divergent ones. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

This work will serve to inform discussions on AFD’s strategic orientations with regard to the evolution of the positioning of the main actors of the development community on the interweaving of these two themes. 

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49 445
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  • Hélène Périvier, economist and director of the Programme de recherche et d'enseignement des savoirs sur le genre (PRESAGE) of the OFCE-Sciences Po
  • Maxime Forest, political scientist, research associate at the OFCE and lecturer at Sciences Po
  • Serge Rabier, research officer at AFD