Gender Equality and Human Rights in Climate Action and Renewable Energy - UN CC:eLearn course

Submitted by Ruth Butterfield | published 2nd Nov 2022 | last updated 27th Feb 2023

Climate Adaptation Training Annotation

  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 6 hours
  • Learning product: online course (self-paced)
  • Sector: gender, energy
  • Language: English
  • Certificate available: Certificate of Completion by UN CC:eLearn

This course is hosted on UN CC:eLearn funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - see the SDC Climate Change and Environment Network on weADAPT for more information. Please click on the Gender equality and human rights in climate action and renewable energy course, where you can download the syllabus and enrol for full access.

Climate Change, Gender Equality and Human Rights Course Introduction
Women selecting staples in market during Covid pandemic. Credit: UNEP

Women selecting staples in market during Covid pandemic. Credit: UNEP


The deep-rooted and far-reaching impacts of climate change make it one of the most defining challenges in the world today. The impacts of climate change manifest in primary effects such as increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events like droughts, storms and floods. However, it is the negative secondary effects that often go over-looked, especially for those who already experience inequalities, including women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities and minority groups. 

Multiple and intersecting social inequalities affect the ability of marginalized groups to adapt to a changing climate, excluding these groups from decision-making processes at household, community, and national levels. They also prevent them from taking hold of the opportunities that low-emissions, climate-resilient development brings towards improved livelihoods, particularly in sectors like renewable energy that also have the potential to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of women.

This self-paced e-course provides an overview of the interlinkages between gender, human rights, climate change, and renewable energy. It provides participants with the specific knowledge and tools to integrate and implement gender equality in renewable energy access and entrepreneurship, as well as related gender-responsive and human rights-based approaches in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

*This article provides an overview of the course. The full course with all quizzes, videos plus learning material can be accessed here through a free registration on the UNCC:e-Learn website

Institutional background and trainer

This e-course is jointly developed by UN CC:Learn, UN Environment and UN Women under the project EmPower: Women for Climate Resilient Societies, with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Who would find this useful?

The course is of particular interest to the following audiences:

  1. National policymakers, government officials and stakeholders in sectors of climate change, gender equality and renewable energy, as well as regional actors;
  2. Renewable energy service providers and officials of financial institutions in renewable energy entrepreneurship;
  3. Anyone interested in learning more about gender equality and human rights-based approaches in the renewable energy sector.

Training material

The course includes three modules. These have specific learning objectives and contain a broad range of features such as videos, case studies and exercises. Each module is divided into 4 lessons of around 30 minutes each. 

The course provides learners with the option to choose and combine different thematic modules. There are two main learning pathways available that participants can select based on their interests. Pathway 1 is particularly intended for renewable energy experts and professionals of financial institutions. Pathway 2 is designed specifically for climate change and green economy policymakers. Both learning pathways have a common introductory module. Participants can also opt to take all three modules.

Module 1 – Introduction to Gender Equality and Human Rights in Climate Action and Renewable Energy

This module provides an introduction to gender equality and a human rights-based approach to climate action and renewable energy.  

In this introductory module, we will explore the basic concepts and interlinkages between gender equality and human rights in the context of climate change and the push towards renewable energy and a low-carbon future. We will look at how multiple inequalities affect people’s ability to adapt to the changing climate. We will also review the international frameworks that guide countries in the pursuit of a gender-responsive and human rights-based approach to tackling the climate crisis and towards sustainable energy for all, including how this is being approached at the national level. Lastly, we will go through an overview of the approaches and tools that can be used to promote and enhance inclusive climate action, demonstrating that environmental action can also support societal and economic development and growth. 

At the end of this module, you will be able to: 

  • Explain the interlinkages between gender, human rights, climate change and renewable energy
  • Indicate international frameworks related to gender and human rights and their relevance to national climate and renewable energy policies
  • Present tools and approaches for the promotion of a gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to climate action and renewable energy
  • Discuss the importance of a gender-responsive, human rights-based approach in climate action and renewable energy, and the economic, social and environmental co-benefits

Module 2: How to Implement Gender Responsive Renewable Energy Policies and Entrepreneurship

This module will explore how renewable energy policies and programmes can promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.  

  • We will start by considering the current energy sector landscape and the key challenges and opportunities relating to women, followed by an overview of renewable energy technologies and their potential for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. We will then look into the opportunities for promoting women’s renewable energy entrepreneurship and creating an enabling environment through the development of gender-responsive renewable energy policies and relevant financing. 

    At the end of the module, you will be able to: 

  • Identify entry points for gender and human rights integration in energy policies, particularly renewable energy, that enhance women’s access to clean, modern and sustainable energy.
  • Present opportunities and funding sources for women in renewable energy entrepreneurship that support women’s economic empowerment.
  • Identify strategies to address women’s representation in the energy sector, particularly renewable energy, building on a multi-stakeholder approach with government, the private sector, civil society and energy service providers.
  • Womean and children. Credit: UNEP

Photo credit: UNEP

Module 3: Turning Commitments into Action

In this module, you will delve into the process of designing and implementing national climate change policies and regulatory frameworks that are gender-responsive and human rights-based. In doing so, you will be able to access concrete examples from around the world, review practical tips and suggestions and reflect on how to promote the integration of gender and human rights in your own context and work.

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify the entry points for gender equality and human rights in national climate change policies, including in NDCs and NAPs.
  • Apply tools and techniques to develop, implement and monitor a gender action plan, turning policy objectives into implementable action.
  • Identify opportunities to promote women’s participation in climate change decision-making and action.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the nexus between gender equality, human rights, renewable energy, and climate change
  • Explain how a gender responsive and human rights-based approach in climate action leads to economic, social, and environmental benefits
  • Recognize international and sectoral commitments on gender equality, human rights and climate change and their relationship with national priorities and policies
  • Identify entry points for gender and human rights in renewable energy and climate policy and action
  • Select and apply tools and approaches for the promotion of human rights-based and gender responsive climate action
  • Discuss targeted opportunities for women in climate change and renewable energy, with a particular focus on multi-stakeholder collaboration, renewable energy entrepreneurship and access to finance.